Tips for Avoiding Storm Chasers

How to Avoid Storm Chasers

The most prevalent and most publicized roofing scam is “storm chasers.”  This sort of roofer chases major storms from state to state or town to town to find work on damaged homes.  They watch weather or news reports for areas where recent storms have caused significant hail or wind damage, understand what insurance companies will cover for roof replacement in the affected areas, and canvas the area’s homeowners with flyers or unexpected visits offering a free inspection.

The unsuspecting homeowner who succumbs to this kind of roofing scam ends up with a substandard roof. Since these fraudulent companies are not local there is no one to contact after the fact if there are questions or complaints about the roof installation.

If you want to avoid being an easy mark, follow these tips for avoiding storm chasers:

Do your research.

If you get a knock on your door after a major storm from someone offering you a free roof inspection at a seemingly too-good-to-be true price to repair or replace it, beware!  Ask for identification, proof of insurance, and the roofer’s license number, and then call the insurance company and your local licensing agency for verification.  Storm chasers usually work without liability insurance or worker’s comp and have little care for quality workmanship.

Visit the roofer’s office.

Ask for the company’s address, phone number, website, etc.  If the only address given is a post office box, again—beware!   Research them online using multiple reliable home improvement referral sites and always check reviews. Don’t forget to ask for a reference from other homeowners in your area and visit their locations to see if they really exist.

Don’t pay up front.

The worst of this type of roofing contractor demands a big upfront deposit and then, instead of showing up to work, skips town with your hard-earned money.  Legitimate, reputable roofing contractors may ask for a good-faith deposit of up to 20% upfront; however, if a roofer demands 50-75% upfront, that is a clear sign you’re being scammed.

Even with the abundance of news stories about storm chasers and the fraud they perpetrate on homeowners nationwide, thousands of people still fall victim every year.  If you live in Southern PA or Northern MD and recently experienced roof damage after a severe storm, contact a local roofing company you can trust. Bealing Roofing and Exteriors, Inc. is ready to give you an honest quote, professional roof installation, and continued service long after the sale.