Alabama is notorious for storms that wreak havoc on homes across the region. Recently, Hurricane Sally tore through Alabama leaving several million people without power and causing over $4 billion dollars worth of damage.
Our team at USA Roofing, your residential roofing contractors in Birmingham, AL, wants to know something- how are you doing? Speaking with homeowners from Trussville to Huntsville, Birmingham to Fairhope, and every city in between, we know this year has been difficult for most (if not all) of us. Adding storm damage and no power for days makes an already stressful season even heavier. We want you to know that we care about you and we hope you, your family, and your house are doing well. We genuinely hope you didn’t experience branches or trees damaging your roof or wind blowing away any shingles, but if you did, please know that we are here to help if you haven’t received any yet. We fully expect that you have heard from a roofer if not several already- a few of them may even be from out of town. After massive storms, we tend to see a spike in roofing scams from people (and even real roofers) trying to make quick money off of people in need. We want to make you aware of these–what they look like and how to avoid them.
Common Roof Scams
Keep in mind that these can take place anytime, but tend to be more widespread after major storms or disasters. Some are simple, like roofing companies over quoting the damage done. Some malicious- bad contractors may physically damage your roof (maybe tearing shingles off) to make the damage seem worse than it actually is in order to get a bigger job. There are also cases where contractors will ask to be paid up-front, either by cash or check, then just take your money and run never to be heard from again. This can especially happen with out of town roofers who swoop in for only this purpose. The worst scams are those that are harder to spot and can cause more than just a torn off shingle. Pay close attention to any paperwork and watch out for anything too invasive. A roofing company contractor could ask you to sign an assignment of benefits form which essentially revokes your right to deal with your own insurance company and all insurance claim checks are sent directly to them. That roofer then proceeds to subcontract the job for less money. This generally leads to rushed, incomplete jobs or the use of sub-standard materials. Since that roofer is getting paid directly by your insurance company, they tend to cut corners wherever they can in order to make more money off of your insurance claim. Now you have an equally damaged or unsafe roof that will need to be repaired or replaced…again. This puts you in danger and may cause more roof issues, plus your insurance money is gone.
How to Avoid Roofing Scams
NEVER pay a roofing company upfront in full. Don’t sign a contract with just anyone who just shows up at your door. Read through paperwork carefully and ask plenty of questions. At USA Roofing, we are willing to work alongside you with your insurance company, but be skeptical of a contractor who is too eager to file the insurance paperwork and claims on your behalf and shuts you out of the process. Once again, a reputable roofer assisting with insurance is fine, but one who wants to 100% handle the whole thing isn’t to be trusted after a natural disaster. Here are a few additional tips for avoiding and preventing scams:
- Make sure they are licensed and insured
- Verify their website as well as their physical address and check to see if they are a member of a home builder’s association and BBB
- Have everything in writing- all cost estimates, time schedules, work to be completed, and other agreements
- When you pay a contractor, make the payment to the company and never to the contractor’s personal account
- Never pay in cash for any repairs. Using a credit card can be helpful so that you can have the charges reverse if something happens
- Be on the lookout for storm chasers
- Offers to cover the costs of the materials
Now you’re armed with the information you need to spot and avoid a roofing scam after a major natural disaster. We think it’s wise to use a local company. Your USA Roofing residential roofing contractor is someone you can trust for roof repairs and replacements in Birmingham, Hoover, Trussville, Decatur, Gadsden, Huntsville, and other Alabama communities that we service. If you have roof damage from a recent storm, Contact us today for a free roof inspection and estimate.