Mitigate Storm Chasing Scams

Roofers and Homeowners Can Combat Storm Chasers

As storm season revs up in states such as Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana, hail, strong winds, and heavy downpours provide a yearly boon for the roofing business. However, fraudulent “storm chasers” are causing headaches for homeowners and contractors alike. Some states are fighting back with new legislation, writes Katy Tomasulo at Construction Dive.

Storm chasers are fraudulent roofers who often go door-to-door, pressuring homeowners into getting their damaged homes repaired, offering to waive insurance deductibles. They’ll do shoddy work, collect the homeowner’s insurance money, and disappear.

A big part of the problem is a patchwork of licensing and business registration laws. Even local jurisdictions may have different rules, and some have none, making it difficult for homeowners to know how to check if a roofer is legitimate.

Some states are working on legislation to address the problem. A proposal in Texas would establish statewide certification for storm-chasing roofers. Although registration is voluntary under the proposed law, it is a step in the right direction.

Here are some ways roofers and homeowners can be prepared before storms hit:

What contractors can do

  • Educate homeowners about storm chasers well before storm season.
  • Maintain memberships in local and regional roofing associations to establish credibility.
  • Strive to maintain an excellent BBB rating.

What homeowners can do

  • Be patient: Don’t be pressured and never pay for services up front.
  • Never take an offer from a contractor to pay your deductible. This would be insurance fraud.
  • Get contractor recommendations from trusted sources, such as family and friends.
  • Consult member directories of local and regional associations.
  • Ask contractors for license and insurance (not every state has a licensing system, but all legitimate contractors must have insurance).

Don’t fall victim to fraudsters. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!