Scammers: They go around knocking on doors after every big storm. They try to convince you that you need roof repair - but they're just in it to make some quick money. These "storm chasers" can give roofers a bad name—especially since they aren't real roofing professionals, and rarely have the skills or tools to do what a professional roofer can.
Here's some valuable info about their worst practices…and how to avoid them.
Signs of a Roofing Scam Artist
- Faking Damage: While roofing scammers typically make a show of their "roof inspection", this is just a cover for faking damage. They can pull off a few shingles or even hit your roof with a hammer to make it look like your roof has hail damage. The laziest may just use photos of roof damage that could be from any roof…although they claim that it's yours.
- Cheating Insurance: Many of these scammers will go a step further and cheat your insurance company to get paid for the roof repair (including getting paid for work they don't do). Not only is this illegal, but it has serious consequences for homeowners. Why? Insurance companies may raise rates or change policies after paying out an expensive claim.
- Pushing Expensive Estimates: Storm chasing scammers are notoriously stubborn and aggressive. They will literally push an estimate in your face. Their goal is to get you to sign and hopefully make a down payment right now, that minute, so homeowners don't have time to think or double-check if what they're saying is true. What's worse? The estimates will probably include unnecessary or made-up items.
- Doing Poor Quality Work… Or No Work At All: You're lucky if one of these scammers does any work at all. Most just get cash out and vanish. If they do anything, it will be shoddy and will likely leave your roof in worse shape than it was before.
Avoiding Easy "Storm" Scams
These roof scammers tend to go after the most vulnerable or concerned homeowners. That means they frequently target the elderly, those with older homes (that might have some convenient roof damage already), those with brand new rooftops, and communities with lots of houses that can be easily accessed. Take note so you can be aware when you or your relatives are likely to be scammed. The Better Business Bureau has more info on spotting roof scammers.
The best way to avoid these traps is to know the health of your own roof. If you had a bad storm or high winds that seemed to have done some damage, take a look! Usually, you can spot any serious damage without even climbing up on a ladder. Recruit a roofing contractor that you can trust and ask for an inspection or second opinion. This contractor should be able to show that they are licensed, insured, and have a history of experience in the area.