Legitimate hail or high wind damage is obvious, as shown in this photo.
What to Know Before Hiring A Roofing Contractor After Storm Damage
Over the last few years, greater Atlanta has seen an increase in the number of storms containing large, damaging hail. Our city has been set upon by hundreds of “storm chasers,” individuals from all over the country who set up temporary businesses after a storm. Storm chasers know the invitation to get a “free roof” is enticing. We would like to share some precautions to consider.
DO NOT SIGN!
Do not sign a paper promising to give ANY company your roofing business if they will return and meet with your adjuster.
Companies that pursue storm damage claims as a way of doing business want you to sign papers as soon as possible authorizing them to be your agent in the replacement of your roof. It is always best for you to retain control over the process.
When asked to sign papers making someone else your representative with your insurer, or committing you in writing to only use that company for the replacement of your roof the safest response is: “No.” Wait until you have all of the information and details, and seek the advice of other roofers. Then you are safe to make a decision.
This is good business from your point of view. Remember, the people you are talking to in such situations were strangers to you before they knocked on your door.
If you have legitimate damage, your adjuster will see it. Homeowners have been presented with bills and even threatened with legal action by storm chasers that had them sign such papers after performing a “free inspection.” They typically claim that a legal breach has occurred if you decide you would rather proceed with a different company.
Do not sign any contract that has no definite contract price.
Many storm chaser contracts contain the clause, “Price to be determined.” Do not sign a contract until the price has been determined. All contracts should also have additional set prices to replace rotted decking and to perform any other good roofing practice which cost may not be covered by insurance.
Do not sign contracts with the clause “Scope of work to be determined.”
Clearly defining scope of work is also what a contract is for. The companies that are set up to do storm work know that their appeal is in telling the customer “We will do the work for whatever the insurance company pays.” In order to do that, they have to use roofing crews that agree to work for those rates, buy felts and other materials that are the least expensive and confine their scope of work to absolutely nothing more than the insurance company is paying for. They let the insurer determine both what is to be done and what will be paid for it. That is why the papers they ask homeowners to sign may stipulate “Scope of work to be determined” and “Price to be determined.” Only that which is to be compensated by the insurer will be performed. Unfortunately, that may not give you the result you expect.
Be prepared to spend a little money beyond the insurance settlement.
Be fully aware that good roofing practice may require that while the existing roof is being removed and replaced other things, things not covered by insurance, should be done. Skylight flashing, valley liners, improved ventilation and replacing questionable plywood decking are all good roofing practice – and none may be included in an insurance settlement. If a reputable roofer tells you “These things need to be done while your roof is being replaced,” it serves your interests to spend the additional ten or twenty percent to get a good long-term roof while the insurance company is paying for the majority of the work.
Do not pay for any portion of the work until the job is completed, your grounds are clean and you are satisfied; and require a material lien release when you pay.
If someone wants you to give them your insurance check or any portion of it before the job is satisfactorily completed – you are probably dealing with the wrong people. Giving someone a check for thousands of dollars and trusting them to come back later and do what a salesman promised you leaves you no way to protect yourself. Pay for work only when the work is done!
Echols Roofing, Windows, & Home Improvements has been serving the Atlanta region for over 50 years.