Following recent severe storms, city officials have heard that out-of-state roofing contractors have been seen in East Peoria. The City is encouraging residents to make sure storm repairs are completed properly by a licensed/insured contractor.
There Are Ways To Avoid Roof Repair Scams
Here’s how a typical roof scam works: After a storm, you’re contacted by someone who claims they are a contractor (they might even knock on your door). The scammer will pressure you to sign a contract on the spot or pay up front. They may even offer to inspect your roof — for the sole purpose of intentionally causing more damage to inflate an insurance claim.
Here are some common types of roof repair scams to be aware of:
- Demanding payment in advance. A dishonest contractor will insist you pay them up front before they begin work. But the contractor disappears and never completes or even starts the job.
- Exaggerated damage. The contractor will overstate, exaggerate, or lie about the extent of the damage in hopes of overbilling you or your insurance company. In some cases, they might create more damage so they can ring up a higher bill.
- Lowball bids. Some scammers will try to entice you with a sweet deal. They’ll come in with a much lower offer than other contractors, or they might claim they’re running a “special storm deal.” They may even offer a rebate on your insurance deductible. These types of offers are usually too good to be true.
- Shoddy repairs. The contractor might do the work, but it’s usually rushed and with substandard material.
Avoid Being Defrauded
You can shut out a storm chasing scammer. Don’t sign anything and do not pay any contractors up front for roof repairs after a storm. If you think your roof has damage, your first phone call should be to your insurance agent to make a claim for roof damage. Your insurer will send out an adjuster who can inspect the damage. Try to get several estimates from local, dependable companies.
Here are more tips to avoid being defrauded by a storm chaser:
- Get more than one estimate. Do not let one contractor pressure you into hiring them for the job.
- Work with licensed and insured contractors. State of Illinois requires roofing contractors to be licensed. Ask to see proof of contractor’s liability insurance and make sure the policy effective dates have not expired.
- Do your research. Check to see if the contractor is a member of any local, state, regional or national roofing industry associations. Check if they have had any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for client references and a list of completed projects.
- Get a signed contract before the work begins. Make sure it specifies the cost, time schedules, payment schedules, guarantees and any other expectations. Do not leave any portion of the contract blank.
- Coordinate with your insurance company. Make sure your adjuster inspects the damage before the repairs begin. Your claim could be denied if the insurance company does not inspect the damage first, meaning you will be stuck paying out of pocket.
- Pay with a check or credit card. Do not pay in cash. Do not pay the contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is done to your satisfaction and in compliance with local building codes.