Every year, countless homeowners fall victim to roofing scams. The roof is one of the most fundamental aspects of your home, and you want to ensure it can properly protect you and your family. A large number of homeowners do not have experience handling roof repairs and contractors, leaving themselves vulnerable to fraud. In the state of Florida, unlicensed contractors are targeting more victims each year, resulting in shoddy roof replacements and ever-increasing insurance rates. Scammers are becoming more crafty, not only in their initial approach but their execution as well. There are varying levels of scams taking place every day, all costing homeowners wasted time and money. There are several red flags to be wary of, with the most common including contractors who request money up front, those who neglect to offer installation or manufacturer warranties, or roofers who use subcontractors to complete the work. It is important to always do your research when considering a company for something as significant as a roof repair. Always be sure to read online reviews on consumer driven websites, and make sure the company is in good standing with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
Roofing Contractor Scams
The Free Roof Inspection: Typically, when business is slow or the economy has been on the decline, roofers will start going door to door seeking potential clients. They will offer to inspect your roof for free, and after the inspection they will claim they observed damage that warrants a new roof or major repair. Some of these roofers will intentionally cause damage to your roof during their inspection, or they might show you a picture of someone else’s roof and allege that it is yours. These roofers will seem polite, knowledgeable, and helpful. They will encourage you to submit a claim to your insurance company. Scammers are well-versed in the proper language to effectively manipulate the consumer, and they will withhold crucial details. They will give you a low estimate for repairs, and have a false sense of urgency. What they will neglect to tell you is that insurance companies will not pay to repair an older roof. You will be responsible for paying the total bill, in addition to having an unnecessary claim against your homeowners insurance.
Insurance Companies Are Getting Wise to The Scammers
Insurance companies are constantly dealing with roofing scams that victimize unsuspecting homeowners. The tricks are constantly evolving, but there are a few tried and true scams you need to watch out for. When a roofer goes door to door to drum up business on behalf of a company, that is usually a telltale sign of fraud. Accredited and insured roofers will typically have an online presence, like a website or social media pages, along with reviews from actual customers. Some out-of-towner roofers chase inclement weather, and prey on homeowners’ emotions. Always choose a local roofer with a physical business location. Many of the fraudulent out-of-towner roofers have a PO Box address, which is a huge red flag. Another scam to be careful of is when the salesman has a sense of urgency and demands immediate action for roofing repairs. Homeowners think time is of the essence and act quickly out of fear. Legitimate roofing companies won’t pressure you. They will give you adequate information to make an informed decision, and allow you the time to decide the best course of action you want to take. Roofing repairs can be expensive. Scammers will initially lowball the estimate, and give you a too-good-to-be-true quote. The costs will quickly escalate after the work begins, and you may find yourself in over your head. If a roofer requests a deposit up front, that is another huge red flag. Some roofers will take that deposit and vanish. Other roofers will request a deposit to cover the materials and then string you along, quickly demanding more money as time goes on. A legitimate roofing company will have the materials and resources to complete the repair. You should NEVER have to pay the roofer until after the job has started.
Hail Damage Claims
Insurance claims for hail damage have risen exponentially, yet according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the number of hail storms has been stagnant. The drastic inconsistencies are due to unprofessional roofers making bogus claims of hail damage. How do they trick homeowners into believing hail damage that simply doesn’t exist? The scammers create the evidence themselves in what is described as “manufactured damage.” After these fraudulent roofers charm their way up to your roof under the guise of a generous free inspection, they use dimes and ball peen hammers to replicate hail damage. Another way to manufacture the damage is to pry off shingles and claim it is evidence of wind damage. Some scammers will even show you pictures of a roof similar to yours with weather-induced damage, and allege it is from your house.
Roofing scams have been steadily increasing insurance premiums for all consumers. The Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (FRSA) estimate insurance premiums may rise by as much as 10 percent! It is crucial to protect both yourself and your insurance company from potential threats. When you file a claim, it is added to your insurance record. The claims you make affect all future claims you may need to file. If your insurance company discovers you filed a fraudulent roofing claim, they can immediately cancel your coverage or choose to not renew your insurance. Additionally, consumers across the country have been charged with committing insurance fraud. You may be the victim of a roofing scam, but you are in a legally binding contract with your homeowner’s insurance company. In your contract, you agreed to trade your annual premium for protection against home damages. Your insurance company can hold you liable for submitting false documents on home repairs. Be mindful of all paperwork you are asked to sign. Never sign a contract with a roofer before your insurance company comes out to inspect the damage. Never sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contract. An AOB contract gives the roofer full reign to collect all claim money directly from your insurance company. Anytime a roofer volunteers to either pay the deductible or waive it entirely, it is fraud. Contact the FRSA to find a reputable roofer in your area.
Fraudulent roofers will sometimes use subcontractors to complete the job. These subcontractors may use low quality materials and work hurriedly for a small percentage. In some cases, the subcontractors do not even get paid. Subcontractors may lack the insurance, license, knowledge, and experience to successfully repair your roof. The unqualified subcontractors may leave you with a mess of debris and rusty roofing nails to clean up, and a poorly repaired roof that needs to be redone. The new roof you invested in may have an expiration date of a few years. This is why you never want to pay a roofer up front; it is a huge risk to pay for unrendered services.
Roofing repairs should never be done on a whim. Scammers prey on your emotions, pressure you to make quick decisions, and give you low estimates to trick you into thinking you’re saving money. Remember: roofers going door to door or showing up unannounced is a red flag for fraud. Roofers who claim they will pay your deductible or waive it entirely, roofers who chase inclement weather, contractors who demand money before the project starts, or salesmen who give ever-increasing quotes; these are all major red flags for roofing scams.
Roofing scams have become a lucrative business. Luckily, it is easier than ever before to properly do your research before hiring a roofing company to handle your repairs. You have a great deal of information available at your fingertips. You can investigate local roofing companies, ensure a contractor’s good standing on the BBB website, read over references and reviews on consumer-driven websites, and ensure a company is FRSA approved. It is also beneficial to scope out a company’s physical address. You should be able to request their licenses and insurance, review the manufacturer and labor warranties, and get a good look at how the business operates.
Roof Top Services of Central Florida is a family run business with over 26 years of industry experience. Our expertise and exclusive use of high quality GAF roofing materials guarantee a roof you and your family will enjoy for years. Our team is licensed and insured, and we work diligently to repair your roof within your budget and timeline. We offer direct insurance billing, in addition to no money down financing. We provide you with a complete roof installation warranty, as well as a long-term manufacturer warranty. We never use subcontractors, and all work is completed by our highly qualified staff. Our BBB rating is A+ and we are FRSA approved. If you decide to not work with us, please make sure you work with another local and accredited BBB roofer. Roofing repairs done wrong require more time and money in the end. Save yourself the headache and financial heartache, and always do your research on your contractor. Don’t fall victim to unprofessional contractors robbing you of your money and safety.