Chasing hail storms is BIG business. There is vast electronic infrastructure set up which allows contractors to locate storms, gauge the magnitude, determine affected neighborhoods, know the size and value of your home, work with insurance companies, and even bid the roof sight unseen if they want to!
Please be wary “storm chasers” and do not fall victim to their scams. Use local, experienced contractors who are properly licensed and insured to work on your home or business. This contractor will still “be there” if problems occur down the road, or should you need more emergency storm repair.
Here are 6 things you need to know to protect your family from falling victim to their scams.
1. Know your rights!
Wyoming Senate passed a statute (law) to protect homeowners for ‘Exterior Storm Damage’ in 2017. You can read them here.
2. Verify who they are
Make sure they truly are who they say they are. Storm chasers will use other Wyoming contractor’s name and license to fraud homeowners. They give a percentage to the contractor and leave town with your money. A good give away is company magnets on their trucks. Most reputable contractors will have permanent branding on their vehicles.
3. Door knockers
Check their driver’s license and the city provided name badge permit. The City of Gillette requires Door to Door salespersons to have an Itinerant Merchant license. The city has this in place to protect you by having the Gillette Police department do a criminal background check on ANY person wanting to solicit within the city limits. This includes door hangers for advertisement. Call the police if someone comes to your door without this permit.
4. Be patient!
There is a common misconception that you need to get your repairs done immediately. If your property has suffered severe damage and has the potential to leak, most insurance companies will pay to have temporary repairs done to keep your home from having more damage. Make an informed decision after doing your research on companies you are considering to perform your work. It is worth waiting for your local roofer, who will still be around after the storm chasers have left, to maintain the warranty on their workmanship.
5. Free roof myth
Storm Chasers will “EAT” your deductible, offer goods, advertising or tell you they will do it for what insurance pays at no cost to you. Watch out for this scam. Homeowners are required to pay for their deductible. It is illegal to do this and puts the homeowner at risk of being an accomplice to breaking the law. Be sure to never sign anything which states you give a company permission to work directly with your insurance agency.
6. Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is required by the City of Gillette. A roofer must carry a $1 million dollar general liability policy before they will get a contractor license.
- Look for ‘additional insured’. There is a box in the lower-left section of the certificate of insurance (COI) which says ‘City of Gillette’.
- Storm chasers will get an insurance policy locally, pay the initial 1st-month premium to receive their certificate, and then cancel immediately. Be wary of a company with a brand new policy.
- This required coverage is very minimal and could put you at risk if the roofer you work with doesn’t have this coverage.
- Verify their insurance and their longevity of holding the current policy with the insurance agent listed on the COI.
- Make sure their COI has Worker’s Compensation for at least $1 million. This is in case someone gets hurt while performing the job and limits the risk of you being sued.
- Automobile liability should also be listed on the COI to help protect homeowners from vehicle incidents while performing the work.
- Aggregate COI is a must in a STORM. This covers each homeowner for the entire amount of the insurance limits for each job. This protects homeowners when a contractor is doing multiple jobs at the same time.
If you’ve had storm damage and are looking for a local roofer, give Wyoming Roofing a call today! We are your trusted local roofer and have the experience, coverage, and reputation you need to get the job done right the first time. We will be happy to inspect your roof for damages and work with you to get repairs completed in a timely manner.