If a storm or hail hits your house and damages the roof, or some other part of it, the first thing you should do is to call a professional storm damage contractor. Unfortunately, not all contractors are the same. Some less scrupulous ones will even attempt to take advantage of your situation and perhaps overprice the repairs or try to sell you something that you don’t need.
To avoid dishonest storm damage contractors, there are a few “red flags” that you have to keep an eye for, such as:
- Up-front payment
Never agree to pay a large amount up-front to the contractor for your roof repair. They should bill you only after the repairs are made. A small deposit is okay, but if the contractor is asking you to pay before he has even started the work, it may be wise to look for another contractor.
- Out-of-town contractor
It’s a good rule-of-thumb to only do business with local contractors. When you deal with a local contractor you can reach them either through a phone call or a visit to their office if you have questions about their work. You can sometimes tell a good deal about their business practices by a visit to their office.
- Don’t let them pressure you
This is a big problem for homeowners whose properties have been hit by storms, getting pressured by contractors. If you suspect for a moment that the contractor is trying to take advantage of your situation and pressure you into signing a contract with them, decline to work with them until you have more information. You do not want to rush into making a decision where a lot of money can be at stake.
- They offer to pay you a deductible
It is illegal for a storm damage contractor to pay your deductible.
- Research was unsuccessful
If, after researching your contractor online, you aren’t able to find any information about the contractor, not even a phone number, address or website, you may consider finding another contractor with a more active presence in the area.
What to Ask the Storm Damage Contractor?
Apart from these red flags, there are also a couple of questions that you should ask the storm damage contractor before you hire them.
- Do they offer a no obligation, free estimate for their work?
- Where is their office?
- Do they have a license and insurance for this job?
- Do they offer a warranty on the products they will use?
- What is their insurance claim process?
- What is their cancelation fee?