07 Mar HOW HOMEOWNERS CAN AVOID THE ROOFING & INSURANCE CLAIM SCAMS
The Dallas Fort Worth roofing industry is crawling with hundreds, upon hundreds, of self-pro-claimed roofing experts and general contractors. Most of whom are really only commission sales people in disguise or middleman contractors hoping to cash in on all your insurance claim’s money.
These individuals are not always storm chasers, stealing the money and disappearing. Most are local residents of our area, simply getting rich on your insurance claim.
They did not attend a college or go into student loan debt to earn a degree for this industry. Nor, have they spent their lives on a roof learning the roofing trade hands on from the bottom up.
They are simply going from their couch, to your door, every storm season “putting your insurance money into their pockets.”
The #1 problem? Homeowners! Yes, that’s right. Homeowners are actually doing this to themselves.
The average homeowners simply has no idea how the insurance claims process works, or feel they just do not have the time or desire to mess with it.
So….out of fear, laziness or lack of time in the day, many are agreeing to hand over their entire insurance claim to a contractor. This is a huge mistake. You are better off throwing your money right out the front door.
In Texas alone, “insurance claim specialists” and “General Contractors” claiming to be roofers, are targeting more and more victims each year. Which in turn, is only raising all of our insurance rates and deductibles and leaving a trail of inferior roof replacements behind with poor quality and mediocre warranties.
How do you protect yourself against this?
You should be aware of several immediate red flags.
1. Contractors who show up unannounced.
In our opinion, legitimate, hands on roofing contractors, should never knock on your door or call you claiming to be in your area, offering free roof inspections.
Nearly all of the local news outlets in Dallas Fort Worth have aired numerous news stories actually exposing most of these individuals to being nothing more then a marketing agency or commission sales team, hired to get you to say “YES” to a free roof inspection.
Their next goal is to then convince you to tarp the roof and file an insurance claim so they can handle everything on your behalf.
BOOM! Congratulations!! You just gave away all your insurance money.
What just happened?
- They never showed you a detailed written estimate.
- Never gave you a firm price or just said that everything is billed to your insurance company.
- Never allowed you time to gather other estimates for comparison or think about what you’re doing.
Remember, they are not interested in “bidding” on your project. The big money is convincing you to let them handle the entire claim $$.
This is actually a very sneaky, middleman, sales trick.
By being first after the storm to approach you, convincing you that claims are hard and that time is of the essence, they corner unsuspecting homeowners into immediately hiring them to take over the entire insurance claim.
“Never sign anything or agree to hire anyone without meeting and comparing at least (3) detailed written estimates from (3) different contactors in total.”
2. Contractors who ask to meet with your insurance company or who ask to see your insurance papers.
In our opinion, contractors that do this should be asked to leave your property immediately. Why trust someone who just tried to ensure they took ALL of your insurance budget.
They are attempting to see how much you’ve been paid by your insurance company, instead of providing you a detailed, professional, “written” roof replacement estimate of their own.
This is always a clear indication that you are not dealing with an actual hands on roof installer with your best interest in mind.
3. Contractors who request money up-front.
This is a Biggy. No contractor should ever expect for a homeowner to pay any money upfront in the world that we live in today. If they cannot understand your reluctance, hire someone else. Never for any reason go against your gut regarding paying a contractor upfront. Never Pay for Any Home Services Upfront For Any Reason!
Paying a contractor a deposit or any money upfront puts a homeowner at an immediate disadvantage in several very impactful ways. The biggest reason:
- You will immediately give up all control of your own job at your own house.
This means you will not have the ability to fire them at any time, for any reason. Once you have already paid them half the money upfront, you will naturally then feel obligated to continue forward with them no matter what, even if deep down you know you should fire them immedialty.
We receive between 15 to 30 calls a year from homeowners who have stopped a reroof in progress at their homes because their contractor was not delivering on the promises that were made.
*The contractor was not performing the job as promised.
*The crews were sloppy and damaging our landscaping and garage doors.
*We could immediately tell that the crew was incompetent and doing a very poor job.
*They were already damaging our property before any work was done.
*The materials that showed up were used and not brand new or were not what we asked for.
*The crew was not insured as promised.
The list goes on and on.
Homeowners! This is nothing personal. This is just business. Do not take this task personal.
You cannot afford to risk half your roofing budget on a contractor you have never used before. It doesn’t matter how many good reviews they have or how many people you know that may have used them. Paying anyone, in any business, any money upfront is a huge risk!
Roof installations are one of the hardest professions on earth. There is NO room for error when replacing a roof. Who ever takes on this task had better be extremely experienced and know exactly what he or she is doing, or you will have just wasted your entire roofing budget.
Unlike every other home service, the roof installation is the one project that requires highly paid, highly skilled installers and must be done right, the very first time.
If your contractor is as skilled as they claim they are, they should have no problem performing the project to completion before asking for payment. If not, is this really a risk you want to take??
If they push the issue, they most likely are not confident in their crews ability to do a great job.
- The contractor is not 100% invested in your project.
Another reason to never pay an upfront deposit is to ensure your contractor is putting their money where their mouth is.
As a homeowner, you should always want your contractor to be 100% invested in your project. This will ensure they are holding up their end of the deal. Starting the job in a timely manner, providing the good crew they promised, doing those extras they promised, etc… If they claim to be experts at what they do, make them prove it before you pay.
It will also ensure that they care about the quality of the work taking place at your home. You’ll find that contractors are way more eager to follow through on promises made when all their money is riding on it. When you pay a contractor upfront it partially relives them of this important motivator.
If half down is a huge issue being pressed by your contractor, there is a reason why: They either need to use that money to purchase the materials. Or they need to use that money to pay the commission sales person you have been dealing with. Or they have no confidence in their crews.
Again, nothing personal, this is just business. You should not be risking your money for either of the above. They may be the greatest guys on earth and you may love them to death, it is still not going to be worth you risking your budget over.
In our opinion, no legitimate company in any trade should ask for an advance deposit and must prove their worth and deliver on their promises before requiring payment. Roofing is just to hard of a job to risk upfront payments on.
Would you pay your auto mechanic upfront?
To protect our customers, HonestRoof.com requires no money down until all work is 100% complete and the customer is 100% satisfied.
Beware of The Roofing and Insurance Contractor Scams
Following these top 3 rules, right from the very beginning, should prevent you from doing business with scammers and middlemen and put you on the right track of getting more for your money.
Here are a few more signs that you may not be dealing with an actual hands on roofing company with your best interest in mind.
These are “foot in the door techniques” and tricks that middlemen contractors and sales people use to get into your homes and ultimately take over your claim.
* The Free Roof Inspection
Nearly all roofing companies offer free or complimentary roof inspections. However, remember what we mentioned earlier about door knockers or contractors that come to your home or call you uninvited. Actual roof installers are busy working. They do not knock on doors or make telemarketing calls.
No legitimate hands on roof installer should ever come to your home or call you, uninvited.
After every hail and wind storm middleman contractors will rush to our neighborhoods to start going door to door offering free roof inspections. After the inspection they will claim to have observed roof damages that warrants a new roof or major repair. This may be the case, however, always get a second opinion before filing a claim.
Many of the complaints filed with the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau reported some contractors intentionally causing damage to their roofs during the inspection and/or showing them pictures of other people’s roofs.
Nearly all of the complaint’s reported the sales person being very polite, knowledgeable, and helpful. However, no matter how professional they seemed, by the end of the meeting, they were all encouraged to submit an insurance claim, allowing the contractor to “handle everything”.
Unfortunately for many, once the work started, the homeowners were horrified to learn that the super nice sales person did not know as much as he claimed and the crew was not what was promised.
* Roofers Who Create a Sense of Urgency
Any urgency at all should be considered a warning sign. Pretending that you only have a limited time to make a claim and that they need to get started right away is a sure way to get you to make a quick decision. Another sneaky sales trick that has proven to be very successful for sales and middleman contractors.
* The Emergency Tarp Repair Scare
Ok, so if you are 100% certain that your roof is actually leaking, then a tarp repair is immediately necessary.
However, never allow a tarp repair to be free. Demand an estimate and a receipt for any services or alterations made to your home/property. If you allow a contractor to perform a free temporary repair or alteration to your home and you then decide to hire a different contractor, they can then put pressure on you to pay for the repair services they provided for any amount they wish.
Homeowners: Be advised: 95% of the time, the emergency tarp repair is simply being used by sales teams and contractors as a high pressure, sense of urgency trick, to get you to allow them to perform work on the property.
If they agree to tarp your roof for free, most homeowners are going to then naturally feel obligated to hire them, if the claim is approved. Not to mention they will now have immediate invoicing capabilities against your insurance company.
The bigger issue, not only are most of these tarp/felt repairs not needed….They are also not being performed correctly by actual roof installers. Sales People Are Not Roofers! Simply nailing down a strip of felt on your roof WILL NOT stop the leak.
We highly recommend that homeowners always wait on performing any alterations or tarp repairs to the roof until you are 100% certain of who you will be hiring. In an emergency situation, always demand an estimate for the tarp repair and “Always Pay For The Repair Service” being sure to get a paid in full receipt upon completion. Never allow the repair to be free. Is anything ever really free?!
* Asking You To Sign Anything
Never sign “anything” until you are 100% ready to start the work. Asking you to sign a work order or “contingency agreement” allowing them to meet with your adjuster on your behalf should be considered High Way Robbery.
This is an attempt to take over your claim and project right from the beginning without giving you time to discuss pricing, pick out products, talk about ventilation, see written estimates or do your own research.
It is highly recommended that homeowners handle their own insurance claim and keep their personal insurance information private.
* Roofers with No Local Address
Ads that claim to service all of DFW is usually a sign that they do not have an actual office address. Always search the name of your contractor to see if they have an actual brick and mortar location.
It’s your home. It protects your family members and all of your belonging’s. You will need to be able to get in touch with your contractor in the event your roof begins to leak or show signs of trouble. Avoiding your calls without an actual psychical address, lets the contactor off the off the hook. If you cannot find them, you cannot take them to court.
Most fraudulent roofing contractors use a P.O. Box address, which is a huge red flag.
* Roofers Avoiding Written Estimates
This is the most obvious red flag!
ONLY SCAMMERS AND MIDDLEMEN WILL WANT TO AVOID GIVING YOU A WRITTEN ESTIMATE.
Why would a contractor not want to give you an estimate?
- They are not a true hands on roofing company and simply are not experienced enough or have no idea how to write a real roof estimate of their own.
- They have been trained to take over your claims money. Not get in a bid war.
Remember, they want all of your insurance money, not some of it. By giving you an “honest estimate upfront”, they risk under pricing the job for less then what your insurance company may pay you.
Scammers have been trained by the companies they are working for to “TAKE OVER YOUR INSURANCE CLAIM”.
That is their #1 goal. Taking over your claim is the quick sale and pays the most money.
An actual hands-on legitimate roofing company should always be able to prepare a thorough and detailed written estimate of their own, should never ask to see your insurance papers and should always give you plenty of uninterrupted time to do your own research.
* Roofers Asking For Advance Deposit
When a roofer requests a deposit up front, it is an immediate red flag. They are either under funded or want to pocket a quick commission with your money.
Paying money upfront also puts you at a disadvantage in the event they do poor work. If you decide to change your mind and find a different contractor, you will have already paid them some of the money. This will only make things much more stressful for you.
Complaints filed with the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau reported roofing contractors being very smooth and convincing regarding deposits. In the end, most simply took the insurance check and vanished or strung the homeowners along, demanding more and more money as time went on. Other contactors admitted to spending all of the money on other projects.
No matter how great they sound or how much you like them, it is just not worth the risk. Never pay a deposit. If they cannot under stand your reluctance, find someone else.
In our opinion, no established or legitimate roofing company with any real experience should have to ask you to pay anything until all of the work is 100% complete.
* When A Roofing Company Uses New Subcontractors
Middlemen roofers will have no choice but to use subcontractors to complete the job. Most are found and hired from Craig’s list or standing around at the local home improvement stores. They are simply the middleman. They are not the actual installer that will be showing up to do or supervise the work. Once the job is sold, they will then hire a third party subcontractor crew to do the job.
The issue is that most subcontractor crews are small 4 to 6 man crews, typically not well trained, have no real crew leader and are uninsured. A recipe for disaster but in line with the thousands of customer complaints filed each year.
These types of subcontractors have no vested interest in your home and have nothing to lose if the project is poorly done or they decide to simply walk off the job in the middle of the project.
In some cases, the subcontractors will not even get paid by the middleman you hired. If that happens, the crew will be legally entitled to file a lien on your property.
To protect our customers HonestRoof.com uses highly skilled, highly paid, certified, in-house 12 man crews for every roof installation.
* Contractors Who Claim to Maximize Your Claim
“We will make your insurance company pay the maximum amount”.
A lot of complaints reported this sounding very tempting. But why? The contractor is keeping all your insurance money! Not You.
Maximizing your claim will do nothing for you!
Your insurance company was just there for you when you needed them. You said you had hail damage, they agreed and paid you. Why rip them off? Or even worse, why allow a contractor to rip them off on your behalf.
Just because your insurance company may be willing to pay a maximum of $15,000 for your roof replacement does not mean you should immedialty charge them that amount and give it all away to a contractor.
You should always ask every contractor you are considering for hire to provide you with a detailed written estimate of their own without your insurance involved and without showing them your insurance papers upfront. This will keep everyone honest and out of your business. Never let them take control of your insurance money. Your insurance claims money belongs to you! It been you paying your premiums each month. Not your contractor!
HonestRoof.com – Your Trusted Roofing Experts
HonestRoof.com is a family run, hands on, roofing business that has served the Dallas Fort Worth area for 3 decades now.
We have thousands of satisfied customers, all 5-star reviews any where you look and ZERO customer complaints ever filled against us.
Our honest and upfront approach, combined with expert installations and exclusive use of high quality Owens Corning and GAF roofing materials, are the reason we are still in business today.
Certified and Insured for your complete protection and we offer free same day roof estimates, 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.
No Middlemen, No Commission Sales People and No Games.
All projects are backed by an un-matched, 20 Year, Leak Free “Labor/Workmanship” Warranty Guarantee and installed by our own in-house, factory trained and certified HonestRoof.com installers.
We are very proud to be an A+ accredited member of the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau and boast the highest customer ratings you’ll find anywhere you look.
Let us send you an estimate. You’ll be glad you did!
If you have any questions about your roof or just want a second opinion, give us a call at (817)-HONEST-1, or email us at [email protected]