Storm Chasers & Why They’re So Dangerous
If you’ve recently been hit by a storm, it can be tempting to hire the first contractor that offers their services. Unfortunately, this is not always the best decision. Storm Chasers and fly-by-night roofing contractors are all too common in areas affected by natural disasters, and they often don’t have homeowners’ best interests at heart. Storm chasers are contractors that travel across the country following storm damage and will offer you an incredibly quick service for a low price. To ensure your home repairs go off without a hitch — and more importantly, to protect yourself financially — it pays to do your research before selecting any company for the job. This blog post will explore why you should watch out for Storm Chasers who target victims of weather events, what warning signs to look out for when choosing a reputable contractor and provide tips on how to find an experienced professional who will take care of your home from start to finish with safety as their top priority.
Storm Chasers Exploit Your Damage with Shoddy Work
With the unpredictable nature of storms, it is not uncommon for areas to be faced with quantifiable damage in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, this necessitates that homeowners often have to turn towards external help quickly – and sometimes these external sources come in the form of storm chasers or roofing contractors that capitalize on an area’s recent tragedy. As tempting as it may be to get your roof repair done in a flash, the quality of work is often lacking, leaving you with shoddy repairs that won’t protect your home from further damage or storms. Plus, without any local credentials, there’s no guarantee that this maybe handy-person is certified or has been properly trained in making repairs. In the wake of a storm, many opportunistic “storm chasers” appear offering enticing deals door-to-door. Many do not do the work themselves, just focusing on selling as fast as possible. If they find someone willing to sign up for their services, they hurry to bring in subcontractors or even handymen often without verifying qualifications and insurance status – leaving homeowners uncertain as to who is working on their roofs and if that person can be trusted.
Storm Chasers Capitalize on Urgency but Don’t Stick Around
Storm Chasers emphasize the need for immediate action but don’t be deceived. These kinds of roofers may not provide you with reliable work or even stick around to handle any issues that arise in the future. When a damaging storm hits your home, it is essential to take precautions and follow through on necessary repairs, yet ensure that you select an experienced roofer who can offer quality service and stand by their commitments. The roofing industry is unpredictable and many businesses go under in less than four years. Storm chasers have an even shorter life expectancy— so if they carry out a job that’s imperfect or unsatisfactory, you won’t be able to find them as they’re likely out of business! Investing in a local roofing contractor who has a proven track record of outstanding work is well worth it – not only will they do an excellent job at the start, but if there are any issues down the line they’ll be around to help.
Using a Storm Chaser Could Cost You a New Roof
Depending on your homeowners insurance policy, storm damage on your roof may be covered. The problem with using a Storm Chaser is that homeowners’ insurance companies have strict policies and procedures in place when filing a roofing claim. A legitimate roofing contractor will be familiar with these policies and processes and use them to their advantage when filing a claim on your behalf. On the other hand, Storm Chasers will often recommend fixes that are outside of policy regulations – leaving you stuck footing the bill. In nearly all cases if you choose to work with an unlicensed roofer, then your homeowner’s insurance policy will be nullified, and you will lose out on any chance of having your roof repaired through insurance. That’s why it’s crucial to reach out to a roofing professional with insurance experience first to find out if you’re roof may be covered by insurance, saving you thousands out of pocket.
Red Flags of a Storm Chaser
Choosing the right roofing company for your home repairs can be overwhelming, so it is important to be aware of any red flags. Here are some of the biggest red flags to look out for:
1. They come to your door offering you an amazing deal on roof repair.
2. They are not local to your area.
3. They do not have a license or insurance in the state you are located.
4. They refuse to work with your homeowner’s insurance and instead want you to pay cash.
5. They have not been featured on any reputable roofing dealers or product websites.
6. They offer significantly lower prices than other companies for the same service.
7. The company does not provide references or reviews from previous customers.
8. They have less than four years of experience to show you.
9. Their website is non-existent or poorly made.
10. They pressure you into signing a contract without providing details.
If you discover any of these red flags, it is essential to avoid their services and search for a reliable roofing company. Doing so will save you money in the long run while assuring that your roof’s repair process adheres to safety regulations.
Common tactics used by storm chasers to take advantage of homeowners
Storm chasers are a real danger to homeowners looking to repair their homes after a storm. These unlicensed contractors often sweep in from out of town, and prey upon unsuspecting homeowners who have little knowledge about the industry, or do not have the time or resources to seek out qualified, local workers.
Common tactics include:
- Providing low estimates that turn into higher bills once work begins
- Telling customers they will only get coverage with certain insurance companies
- Failing to provide proper permits and paperwork.
- Pressuring customers into signing away rights and guarantees.
Unscrupulous roofing companies can quickly take advantage of desperate homeowners who are out of money and time due to storm damage and need repairs done fast. Taking the necessary steps protects against snowballing costs after the fact but also provides peace of mind that the job will be adequately done.
How to protect yourself from getting scammed
Protecting yourself from getting scammed by storm-chasing companies or rogue roofers can be a tricky proposition even for the seasoned homeowner. It takes vigilance and knowledge to recognize when someone is taking advantage of you during a time of crisis. Here are some tips for protecting yourself:
1. Ask for references both local and beyond state lines.
2. Make sure any contractor is adequately licensed according to state law.
3. Ask for an itemized estimate up-front so that you know exactly what the material and labor costs are before signing any contracts.
4. Don’t be afraid to get multiple bids, especially from a locally-based roofing company.
5. Review all the paperwork thoroughly before signing any estimate or roofing contract, many Storm chasers try to make their contracts intelligently complicated.
6. When money is involved after the work has been completed, don’t pay with cash; opt instead to use a debit or credit card or check, which will provide more recourse if a problem later arises.
7. Finally, remember that it’s okay to walk away if anything feels off – never sign on the spot just because someone pressures you to do so.
As with any contractor, the best defense is knowledge, so take the time to research every roofer you’re considering, that way you’ll have peace of mind with your home.
Do your research before hiring a roofer.
Doing your research is always a smart step before making a big decision, and choosing the right roofer is no different. With Storm Chasers continually moving from state to state, purporting to offer deals too good to be true, homeowners must arm themselves with knowledge about what makes for quality work and trustworthy professionals.
Visiting websites like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor can provide you with information on certified local businesses and reviews given by previous customers; frequenting social media sites of the companies you are considering can also clue you into their practices and track record. Before signing any contracts, make sure that the company is legitimate, properly insured, and licensed in your area – these components will provide added protection against fraudulent services or shoddy workmanship. More than anything else, trust your instincts; if something doesn’t feel right during the process don’t commit until you feel confident this is the right choice for you.
Need Storm Help, Find a Real Roofer
In the wake of a major storm, it can be difficult to know who to turn to for help. If you find yourself in need of assistance with roof repairs or replacements, make sure that you are working with reputable and experienced professionals. Stick to local companies that have an established presence in your area—not only will they have experience with the types of weather that you experience, but they’ll handle your roofing the right way, with you in mind.
If you are a Tennessee resident, Roof MD is the roofer for you! We are proud to have earned a five-star rating and won Angi’s Super Service Award for our dedication to customer satisfaction. Moreover, if your home has faced considerable storm damage, don’t hesitate – to contact us right away for your FREE Roofing Inspection.