Don't Fall Victim to Fraudulent Roofers
Your roof is an essential part of your home. You want to ensure it is in prime condition to protect you and your family from the elements. Roofing scammers prey on unsuspecting homeowners by creating false claims of damage and instilling fear. Refrain from leaving yourself vulnerable to scammers who will do shoddy work and leave you with a hefty bill, along with a $5,000 fine for breaking the Florida roofing law. In Florida, unlicensed contractors are on the rise, targeting homeowners and propelling insurance rates. As scammers get more creative, various well-crafted approaches are tricking many homeowners into needless roof repairs and replacements. We have a few tips to save yourself from a roofing scam’s financial burden and heartbreak.
Scammers chase storms around the country and take advantage of homeowners’ misfortunes. They rarely complete their work; if they do, it is incorrect. If you need follow-up maintenance, they are already long gone. These roofers appear out of nowhere, collect your money, and run. Storm chasers are typically not local and have no physical business address. Always ask for license and insurance information, and make sure they are not operating under a P.O. Box address.
Insurance Claim Negotiators
Roofing scams raise insurance premiums for everyone. Scammers may volunteer to negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf – this is a serious red flag that can get you into a world of trouble. Whenever you file a claim, your insurance company adds it to your record. When your insurance company discovers you filed a fraudulent claim with an unlicensed contractor, they can cancel your coverage immediately and charge you with insurance fraud for submitting false documents for home repair. Always be sure to have your insurance company assess the damage before you sign any paperwork with a roofing company. Never sign an AOB (Assignment of Benefits) contract; this relinquishes your rights and allows the contractor to make decisions on your behalf. The agreement lets the contractor collect all the claim money from your insurance company. This costly claim will stay on your homeowner’s insurance record and affect future claims. When a roofer volunteers to pay your deductible or waive it entirely – run.
Rates Too Good to be True
A complimentary roof inspection and a lowball repair estimate can make you commit. Scammers have perfected this shady practice. Once they hook you, surprise costs will continue to escalate until you are drowning in invoices. Reputable roofing companies won’t surprise you with hidden fees. It would help if you also were wary of a roofer trying to pressure you to commit to a contract. A contract requires extensive reading and reviewing, and a legitimate roofer won’t use bogus high-pressure sales tactics to force you to commit to terms that haven’t been closely read.
If your contractor claims the company bookkeeping isn’t equipped to accept credit cards, this is a major red flag. Respectable contractors accept credit card payments. If your contractor insists on cash, there is a wrong reason, like not wanting to leave a trail. Another red flag is when a roofer charges you by the hour for services. It would help if you were given an all-inclusive estimate based on a well-thought-out strategy.
Roofing scams are increasingly profitable, especially in Florida and other areas with active hurricane seasons. Always research roofing companies extensively before hiring a contractor to handle your repairs. Consumer-driven websites, BBB ratings, and your insurance provider’s referral list are great avenues to go down when searching for a reputable roofer. The FRSA is also a great resource to help you find a licensed and insured roofer in your area. Whatever company you choose for your roofing needs should have an online presence, good customer reviews, and be BBB-accredited.