Home improvement scams are on the rise, and you need to be aware of how this can impact you financially. In fact, The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) reports there are staggering amounts of home repair/improvement fraud impacting thousands of people, especially the elderly, who remain high on the target list. One of the top scams in the U.S. includes roofing scams and as consumers, you need to be informed of how these roofing scams can cost you if you aren’t careful.
Warning Signs of Being Targeted by a Roofing Fraudster
If your home needs roofing repairs, keep in mind that roofs are costly to repair or replace so you need to know some common warning signs that you are being targeted by a fraudulent roofing contractor.
Inflated or Created Damages- A common tactic that roofing fraudsters use is to ask to inspect damages on your roof. When that so-called contractor is on your roof, he/she can create damages to your roof that will need to be addressed or simply inflate any obvious damages.
Storm Chasers- When bad weather strikes, so do storm chasers. They will travel to areas hit hard by storms and go door to door looking to strike a deal that may sound too good to be true. They offer you a great value and immediate attention to your roofing needs, but don’t fall prey! Their work is typically substandard and the materials below grade, so you end up losing money in the end.
Large Down Payments- If you need roof repairs, take note of any contractor who asks for a large down payment or the entire payment upfront. You may end up with a disappearing act, money thrown away, and no roof repairs.
Cheap Estimates- A lower estimate may be enticing, but keep in mind cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, you can ultimately lose money by going with the cheaper quote. Fraudsters are good at throwing in “hidden” roofing issues, rising costs of materials or additional time once you have agreed to their low quote, which means that low bid may end up being higher than all the others in the end.
Insurance Fraud- If a roofer claims the insurance company will pay for a new roof before the claim has even been filed, RUN! This could be a sign that the contractor is committing insurance fraud to pocket money at your insurance company’s expense. What that may mean to you is that your claim could be denied based on fraud and misrepresentation, your insurance premiums may rise significantly, and could result in prosecution.
Ways You Can Protect Yourself and Your Home from Roofing Scams
- Immediately contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent if your roof has storm damage.
- Get 2-3 estimates from reputable, licensed, and bonded contractors.
- Never let someone do a roof inspection that randomly shows up at your door.
- Be wary of high-pressure tactics by roofing contractors wanting you to sign “right away” or commit within a time period.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about any potential contractor(s) before committing to one.
- Always get a detailed written contract BEFORE the work begins.
- Never sign a contract with blanks in them.
- Never pay a contractor in full before the work is complete.
- Follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, just say NO!
Being informed of roofing scams can not only ensure you won’t be the next victim but can also certify your insurance rates won’t go through the roof! Contact us at Twin City Insurance with any questions or concerns you may have regarding roofing repairs, roofing scams, or your N.C. homeowners insurance.