Roofers have a terrible reputation, and for good reason. There are many scammers out there trying to get their fingers on insurance money. As a homeowner, it’s important to be on the alert and look out for roofing salesmen who try to scam you. 99% of roofs that roofing companies replace are covered by insurance. This means that other than the deductible, the homeowner isn’t coming out of pocket for the expenses. This can cause a lot of dishonest people to become greedy and try to get their hands on the insurance money, leaving homeowners in the lurch with sub-par products on their home with shoddy workmanship.
Because roofers deal with insurance money instead of a cash price that the homeowner is paying, roofing isn’t about the price—it’s about trust. The bottom line is that if you don’t trust a salesperson, then move on. Find another contractor. Find one you can trust. Here are some signs that you may be getting scammed by a roofer:
High Pressure Sales Tactics
These include saying a problem needs to be fixed immediately or there will be exaggerated consequences. Obviously, a gaping hole in your roof needs immediate attention, but most of the time, replacing a roof isn’t as time-sensitive as some roofing salesmen make it seem. If you have storm damage, you probably need a new roof. But if a salesman is pressuring you to file a claim or use their services, it’s ok to wait and do your due diligence in finding a reputable roofing contractor.
Creating False Damages
Some less-than-reputable roofers will “create” damage. This includes the roofer damaging the property itself or exaggerating the damage in the claim. Scammers may be vague in their description of damage, but they are unable to produce evidence. A reputable roofer will show you the storm damage. Inspectors take lots of photos of your roof during an inspection, and they should show you the damages immediately after the inspection. They should explain what you are looking at, and how each element is damaged. In addition, scammers will supplement for unnecessary line items, and they will charge the insurance company for services they may not have rendered.
Threatening Legal Action
If a roofer threatens legal action against you, walk away.
Making you sign a contingency agreement
A contingency agreement is a document you sign with a contractor that basically says that if the insurance company approves your claim, that you will use only that roofing contractor. Many companies use them as a closing tool to ensure they get your business. Homeowners are allowed to change their mind if they feel uncomfortable with a contractor. Don’t let a roofing contractor get you to sign anything until you are ready to write them a check and get the work started.
Telling you that you don’t have to pay your deductible.
It is Texas state law that homeowners have to pay their deductible. HB 2102 states that homeowners must pay their deductible for any contract work over $1,000 that is paid for with insurance proceeds. Many times, roofers will tell you they will waive the deductible or simply not charge you for it. This is not lawful.
The lowest price
Just because a roofer offers the lowest price doesn’t mean they are the best. You will most likely pay for it in the long run, because they will be cutting corners on quality of products and workmanship. Because of the way insurance companies estimate roofing costs, most roofing companies will work well within that budget to get all the work done.
Asking you to pay the full price upfront
Insurance payment come in two different checks: the actual cash value (ACV) check, and then the depreciation check. The ACV check will come first, and that’s your “downpayment” for the contract work. You will pay your roofing contractor that amount to get the work started. Once the roof and the rest of the work is complete, you will alert your insurance company, and they will send you the RCV check, which you will use to pay the remainder of your balance to the roofing contractor. There is no need to pay all of it up front. It is customary to only pay a portion of contract services until the services are rendered. This is a way to protect you as a homeowner in case something happens, and the contractor doesn’t complete the job. Be wary of any contractor that ever requires full payment up front.
Every roofing company claims to be #1. Going to their website and looking through their projects and customer feedback can be a great source of information. But remember that the roofing company runs that website. Look for feedback from places that the roofing company has no control over—places like Google reviews and Yelp. Ask friends and neighbors as well. Another great place to get recommendations is your insurance agent. Your insurance agent works with tons of homeowners and has probably dealt with some shady roofers, as well as some excellent ones.