Probably the most well-known form of roofing scam are those perpetrated by "Storm-Chasers". These fly-by-night roofers literally follow weather patterns from community to community and take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners by 1) exaggerating or fabricating damage reported to the homeowners' insurance company, 2) using cheap crews and cheaper materials to install inferior roof replacements, and then 3) they leave town to chase the next storm, so when something goes wrong with that cheap roof they aren't around to come fix it. But not all contractors who respond to storms are Storm-Chasers. Insurance restoration is a huge part of the roofing business, and most roofers approach it with a sense of duty that is beneficial to both homeowners and insurance companies. This article will help you avoid getting scammed by telling you what to look for in your storm-damage repair roofing contractor.
Storm-Chasers in Hanover PA - July 2019
When a very bad storm hits a neighborhood or community it’s common for that area to be swamped the next day with roofing salesmen going door-to-door to speak to home- and business-owners about potential roof, siding and exterior property damage, and how they can help get the repairs approved by insurance.
You may have noticed this activity recently in Hanover PA and the surrounding area. It seemed like the original hail storm on Sunday July 21 was followed by an equally disruptive storm the next day - of fliers, door-hangers and salesmen. These opportunists are called “storm-chasers” and “door-knockers” by some, and other less-flattering sobriquets by others, and it is definitely true that some people who engage in this aggressive marketing strategy may even deserve to be called worse. Continue reading to...
Photo: Storm-Chasers will often leave fliers like this, with little to no identifying information, no license numbers, etc. Most traveling storm-chasers are not licensed and/or lie about having insurance. By the time anyone can find out, they've skipped town.
Not all Roofers Who Respond to Storms are Storm-Chasers!
It’s just not the case that every roofer who tries to capitalize on damage caused by a hail storm is a “scammer”. Most of them are honest business-people who see storm damage as a win-win for everyone: an opportunity for a roofing company to work by helping a homeowner get a new roof approved by using their insurance appropriately.
But it’s also true that some are nefarious and dishonest, and no matter what condition your roof is in when they get up there they will be reporting damage to your insurance company. These are the scammers, and they really do ruin it for everyone - homeowners and honest roofers alike. Keep reading to learn how to make the important distinction between honest roofers and the con artist Storm-Chasers.
How to Find Out if the Roofer at Your Door is a Storm-Chaser, in less than 5 minutes.
You don’t want to let a con artist onto your roof, so it’s important to be able to make the distinction between honest roofers and scammers before you agree to that free roof inspection. You'll just need a laptop and an internet connection, or a smartphone with data.
Look for branded clothing and print advertising material (a business card, flier, door-hanger, etc). Is there a company name? Address? Phone? Website? License info? There’s no reason to hide any of this. If you don’t see anything, ask. If you don’t get a direct answer, probably a good idea to end the conversation.
What if a Roof Inspection doesn't Discover any Damage?
This is a big one. Storm-Chasers know that it is often the policy of insurance companies to approve roof damage claims in areas that have been recently hit by hail, with little to no confirmation. Since Storm-Chasers are entirely dependent on these storms for work it is common for them to file fraudulent claims when there is no damage. They have nothing to lose by attempting to defraud you and your insurance, because they know they'll be gone before having to face the consequences.
Our Approach to Damage-Free Roofs
At Superior Services of PA & MD we know that even when a roof inspection doesn’t result in any discovered damage it's still an opportunity to meet another homeowner and introduce ourselves. We hope homeowners in these cases will remember us in the future and give us a call for other projects. If you're looking for someone to fabricate damage - it's not us.
After the hail storm on Sunday, July 21 (2019) we were busy all week giving roof inspections, and five of those requests were from homeowners who thought they might have damage but didn't. We were happy to give them the good news! We have plenty of legitimate claims to do - this week and always. Honesty is important to us, and our customers have come to expect it. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Contact us today to schedule your free inspection and consultation with us and our licensed Public Adjusters.
"So What?! It's Just an Insurance Company - Those Guys are Rich!!"
The Problem with Storm-Chasers & Fraudulent Roofing Claims
Some people have the misguided idea that defrauding an insurance company is a victimless crime. Like a "white lie". This couldn’t be farther from the truth. A fraudulent insurance claim is bad for everyone - not just the insurance company, but the insured and indeed the entire community. Insurance is based on the idea of spreading risk over a large population. If people regularly defraud their insurance companies then rates necessarily have to go up because the risk of insuring people in that area increases. Our personal code of ethics prohibits us from filing fraudulent claims, but if that wasn’t enough we would fall back on our sense of duty to the community we serve and in which we live. If even THAT wasn’t enough, the bottom line is that going around and exaggerating or fabricating storm damage is not a sustainable business practice: the insurance companies will figure it out eventually and take steps to mitigating their losses, which would mean getting more aggressive about denying claims. This would ultimately hurt people with real property damage. And, of course, non-local storm chasers don’t care about any of this because they aren’t invested in the community.
Restorations and Roofing Contracting with Integrity
Conclusion: Best Practices for Insurance Work
There's nothing wrong with taking advantage of storms and the resulting property damage they cause. Homes need to be fixed and that is precisely what homeowners insurance is for. We are primarily an insurance restorations contractor - insurance work makes up the vast majority of the roofs we do, but everything we do is done with integrity and honesty. This is why we have such a great working relationship with so many local insurance company adjusters (chances are that we have worked with yours!). So next time a roofer comes knocking on your door be weary and be critical, but don’t judge too harshly. Just use this guide to make sure you're not dealing with a Storm-Chaser!