Colorado Springs and El Paso county get a lot of hailstorms and high winds. These storms often cause a great deal of damage to residential roofs.
Unfortunately, after a storm, many people begin to see their neighbors getting their roofs replaced, and they begin to see hundreds of roofers’ signs show up in yards around their house, so they commonly assume that they should call the claims department of their insurance company and ask them to check their roof for hail damage.
This Is The Biggest Mistake Homeowners Make After A Hailstorm
The reason this is a mistake is because your insurance company won’t send out an “inspector” to check your roof. That’s not their job or responsibility. They will send out an adjuster.
The insurance adjuster is there to verify any damage that might be on your house for your insurance claim. When you call your claims department, you automatically have a claim filed on your record.
Some times this works out for the homeowner, and the adjuster finds damage caused by the storm, and your insurance company pays to repair the damage.
Other times, they don’t find any damage on your roof and log the incident as a “no-pay” claim, which is now part of your insurance record.
A good rule-of-thumb for homeowners is, never call in a claim on your property insurance unless you absolutely have to, and you absolutely know you have damage. Your insurance company is not there to make sure your house is undamaged. They’re there to pay for any damage you may have sustained.
After a hailstorm or high winds, to avoid calling in a claim, possibly unnecessarily, before calling your insurance company’s claims department, the best way to avoid a “no-pay” claim on your record is to call a reputable roofing contractor, and ask him to inspect your roof for damage. If you don’t know a roofer to call, the best thing to do is to ask your local insurance agent. Most local agents know roofing companies that they trust to refer to their clients. Even then, however, you must exercise caution. Recently, here in Colorado Springs, an elderly lady was referred to a roofer by her insurance agent, and she hired that contractor. Unfortunately, the contractor, took her insurance company’s deposit check and she never heard from him again!
Do your research on any company before hiring a contractor.
If you don’t have a local insurance agent, ask your friends and family. Talk to your co-workers. It’s very likely that many of the people you know have had their roofs replaced since 2008 in El Paso county, and they’ll be able to tell you who did a good job, and who didn’t.
Avoid calling a company just because they have signs in the yards in your neighborhood. That doesn’t guarantee that the company is a good one. It may just indicate that they have good salemen.
If a company has signs in your neighborhood, ask the homeowners about their experience with the roofer before you call.
Just because you have a roofer referred to you, also doesn’t ensure that you’ll be taken care of the way you want to be, or that the contractor is a good one. For information on how to choose a good roofing contractor, read our other Free Report: “The 5 Things Every Homeowner In Colorado Springs Should Look For In A Roofer BEFORE Hiring One”
The 2nd Biggest Mistake Homeowners Make After A Hailstorm
After a major storm, it seems like the door-to-door roofing salesmen come out in armies in Colorado Springs. One customer of mine told me that on one Saturday morning in 2012, after the June hailstorms, he was approached by 5 roofing companies just while he was mowing his front lawn.
Oftentimes, these companies are what are referred to as “storm-chasers” – companies which have come into town just to take advantage of the recent hail or wind damage, and the money from the insurance claims that come with it.
Some of these companies leave after the season, and some of them hang around for a few years.
The Colorado State Attorney General strongly recommends that homeowners never let someone in, or on their house who just comes knocking on your door after a storm.
When a door-to-door roofing salesman comes to your door, he’ll be offering to inspect your roof for free. The reason you should be wary of these roofers is because this is the primary method that scammers and storm-chasers operate.
When they come to your door, they often try to pressure you into letting them on your roof. Since they have a certain level of anonymity at this point, they don’t want to give you the time you need to think about it, discuss it, and do your research on their company. They’re taking advantage of the fact that you’re trusting a stranger at your door. Their goal is to get you to allow them to do the inspection, and oftentimes, they’ll purposely schedule it for a time that you’re not home.
Another favorite tactic of the scammers and storm-chasers is to ask you to sign a paper. They may even use high-pressure to coerce you into signing it. Many people believe that they’re simply signing a consent form to allow the roofer onto their house, when, in fact, they’re signing the roofer’s contract, binding the homeowner into using that roofer if the insurance company accepts the claim. If you try to back out of the agreement, they may even threaten to sue you to intimidate you into letting them have the sale.
This Is Why Roofers In Colorado Springs Have A Bad Reputation!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not all roofing contractors that go door-to-door operate like this, however, the reason you should be cautious is because these are the favorite tactics of the scammers, who nearly ALWAYS go door-to-door.
Our recommendations are:
- If there are hailstorms or high winds in your area, don’t call your insurance company’s claims department. Call a roofing contractor you know you can trust.
- If you don’t know a roofing contractor, call your local insurance agent to ask for a recommendation.
- If you don’t have a local agent, ask your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, church-members, etc. for their recommendations.
- Don’t ever let a door-to-door salesman in or on your house to do a “free inspection.”
- If you do let a door-to-door salesman on your house, never sign anything until you’ve had a chance to do your research.
- For information on how to choose a good roofing contractor, read our Free Report, “The 5 Things Every Homeowner In Colorado Springs Should Look For In A Roofer BEFORE Hiring One”
There are some really good roofing companies in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, there are also some that are just “scammers” or “storm-chasers.” Having lived in Colorado Springs nearly all my life and having worked in the roofing industry, I’ve seen all kinds of roofers as well as the victims of the bad ones.
Here are a few examples of why you should be looking for these 5 things in every roofer.
- Charles lives in Black Forest and was approached by a roofing company. They said he needed his roof replaced so he called his insurance company. The insurance company agreed that the roof needed to be replaced so sent him the first of two checks to pay for the repairs.At the insistence of the roofer, Charles signed over the first check to them, and then never saw them again. He lost the money the insurance company sent him, and was stuck with a roof that still needed replacing.Unfortunately, the insurance company won’t send you a replacement check if something like this happens to you.
The same thing happens every year in El Paso County to dozens of people.
- Sally is a homeschooling mom and foster care parent. She was at home one day with several children when a roofer knocked on her door and asked, “Do you want me to inspect your roof for hail damage?”Sally agreed to let him on the roof, so he took out a sheet of paper and asked her to sign it. Sally assumed that it was a consent form to let him on the roof, when in fact, it was a contract obligating her to let that company replace the roof if the insurance company paid for the work.Scores of people are tricked into this scam and then are threatened with a lawsuit if they try to get out of the contract.
- Recently in Colorado Springs a roofing contractor hired a sub-contractor to do a roof replacement. They agreed that the sub-contractor would be paid under the table. During the project, the sub-contractor fell off the roof and broke his back. Neither he nor the contractor had workmen’s comp insurance.The nightmare could just be beginning for the homeowner because he could face the liability for the medical expenses for the sub-contractor – a cost that could go as high as $500,000!
- In June, 2012, Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper signed into law SB38 which prevents roofers from paying, deducting, waiving, discounting, or rebating, in whole or in part, the homeowner’s insurance deductible, yet many roofers are still offering to do this for their customers, thereby committing, and encouraging the homeowners to commit insurance fraud.
These are just a few, brief examples of how homeowners can be misled or ripped off when trying to choose among the hundreds of roofing companies that show up after a major storm in Colorado Springs.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Here Are The 5 Things Every Homeowner Should Look For When Needing Roof Replacements Or Repairs:
- A Money Back GuaranteeThat’s right! Make sure that your roofer is not asking you to trust him with your money and your home – your biggest investment. Make sure that your roofer is committed to making sure that you love your roof and if you don’t, you get your money back.
When you’re faced with trying to choose a roofing company, how can you know who you can trust? If a contractor is willing to guarantee his work by offering your money back, he’s saying that he is not asking you to trust him but that he will trust you. Therefore, all the risk is removed from your side of the transaction.
A roof can be a considerable cost for a homeowner. You don’t want to risk a bad roofer botching the job and then taking off with your money. Make sure to get it in writing: “You’ll love your roof or your money back!”
- The Company Is Fully Insured
Remember the story above about the roofer who fell off the roof and nobody had the proper insurance to cover the medical expenses? Guess who could be liable for the expenses? It could be the homeowner, or the homeowner’s insurance company!Make sure to tell your roofer that you want to see his proof of general liability insurance AND workers’ comp insurance and the insurance certificates for any of his sub-contractors. Do your research before you hire a contractor.
- Make Sure The Roofer is Not Asking For Money Up Front
In many instances, this is a legitimate request from a company because it protects their interests, so why do you want to do this? Don’t forget about Charles, who gave his first insurance check to a roofer and then never saw him again!Any reliable contractor is able to afford to buy the materials without asking for money up front. Remember, you don’t want to, or need to, have any risk when hiring a roofing contractor. Don’t offer to give any deposits until you have materials stocked on the roof so that you know you’ve gotten something for your money!
Look for ways that you can eliminate your risk in the transaction. Keeping your deposit money until your contractor has shown a tangible commitment to you and your roofing project is a great way to do this.
- The Contractor Shouldn’t Ever Pressure You Into Signing A Contract
Remember the story above about Sally? When the insurance company agreed to replace the roof, Sally didn’t want to use the company that did the inspection, but she had signed their “contract.” When she told them she wanted to use a different company, they threatened her with a lawsuit. Sally eventually was able to get them to release her from the contract, but not until they had tried to intimidate her with several tactics.Make sure that any roofing contractor or salesman you talk to doesn’t try to get you to sign a contract without giving you the opportunity to spend time thinking, discussing, and researching. If they do try to pressure you, find another roofer.
- Make Sure That Your Contractor Is Following The Law!
In June, 2012, Colorado passed law SB38 which governs how a roofing contractor can handle paying a deductible for a customer, as well as other details, too.Roofing companies may no longer offer to pay, waive, discount, or rebate a deductible for a homeowner in Colorado, and they have to clearly state that on their contract.
While it may be much more convenient for a homeowner to have a roofer pay the $500 or $1000 deductible for him, that violates the law if the roofer does it.
In fact, there are still roofing companies in the Colorado Springs area that have offers on their websites offering to pay rebates or discounts for their customers so the customer won’t have any out-of-pocket expense associated with the roof replacement.
Ask yourself this question, “If my roofer is willing to cheat the law in order to get a sale, will he also be dishonest with me?”
These are just a few tips for homeowners to help them navigate through the sea of roofing contractors in Colorado Springs. There are a few hundred roofers in the area normally, but when a major storm hits, the county gets flooded with “storm-chasers.” These are companies that come in from out-of-town just to cash in on the abundance of insurance claims.
Storm-chasing companies are the ones most likely to cause problems for homeowners, so do your research before signing anything.
Most importantly, follow the advice of the Colorado State Attorney General, who says you should never let someone in, or on your house who comes knocking on your door.
Your best bet is to stay away from door-knocking roofers and contact someone you trust. You can also contact your local insurance agent and ask for his or her recommendations. Local agents normally have a few local roofers that they trust and can give you the contact numbers so you can call them and ask them to inspect your roof.Read More
Here’s a story about a real person in the Colorado Springs area who lost a lot of money to a bad roofing company. Unfortunately, his is not an isolated incident. These kinds of things happen all too often.
His name is Charles. He was approached by a roofer about the need to replace his roof. The roof really did need to be replaced, and his insurance company issued him the first of two checks to pay for the project.
As many roofing companies do, this one told Charles that they needed the first insurance check signed over to them before they would start the job. So, Charles signed the check and gave it to the roofer. (more…)Read More
Recently an insurance agent I know called me and told me about a client of his. The client is a single lady who lives in a house with T-Lock shingles. T-lock shingles, in case you didn’t know, were phased out several years ago, therefore, you can’t buy them any more. The consequence of that is that insurance companies don’t look for a lot of damage on them in order to replace them.
Naturally, then, T-Lock roofs are an easy target for roofers. From 2008 to 2012, all it took was 1 or 2 hail or wind damaged shingles to get a roof replaced. Roofers knew this was a quick, easy sale so they targeted homeowners with T-Lock roofs.
The really dark side of this is that many of the “storm-chasing” roofers will tell a homeowner that there’s hail damage on the roof even before inspecting it – leading the owner to believe that the hail damage could be seen from the street. Many roofers would coerce a homeowner into allowing him to do an inspection, expecting to find damage since we’ve had some major storms here lately. (more…)Read More
Most people, when working with their insurance company to have their roof replaced, get very confused. The confusion arises because most of the time, the insurance company will issue you two separate checks for your roof replacement. Not understanding that they will receive two checks, most homeowners panic when they receive their first check, and think, “This is ALL the insurance company is paying to have the roof redone?”
No need to fear! Here is an explanation, in easy-to-understand terms, of how most roofing claims proceed with the insurance company involved.
Step 1 – Call In Your Roofing Claim
The first step is for you, the homeowner, to call your claims department and file a claim. REMEMBER – this page explains the process that will occur when you get your insurance company involved. Before you ever call your claims department, you should always have your roof checked by a trustworthy roofer. If you think you have hail damage and don’t have your roof inspected, but call your claims department instead, you have just filed a claim on your roof. The insurance company is not there to inspect your roof for damage for you. They’re there to verify damage that you have. (more…)Read More