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Beware the Stormchaser: What to Look For When They Come Knocking

STEPHANIE WENZ
Account Manager at HNI

If you’re a homeowner, chances are you’ve gotten that knock on the door. 

You open it to find a residential roofing contractor standing there who immediately starts talking about how your roof must be damaged due to the recent storm -- because ALL of your neighbor’s’ roofs need repair.  Then, they try to get you to sign a contract for a full roof Stormreplacement.

Their pitch is that you don’t need to worry about the cost of the repair or replacement, because the insurance company is going to cover it all. 

How to spot Storm Chasers

These contractors are called Storm Chasers for their less-than-transparent approach to generating new business opportunities. Many aren’t even licensed roofers who are just looking for ways to make a quick buck.

The hassle involved with this can include denied home claims, un-refunded money and poor quality of workmanship

Fortunately, there are some ways to spot them. A few guidelins to keep in mind:

1. Be wary of out of state contractors


2. Research any provider online and read reviews (Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Business reviews are a good place to start)


3. Talk to your homeowners insurance company / agent


4. Talk to your neighbors and see if they’ve been solicited as well


5. Get a second opinion from a contractor you researched and initially contacted yourself or grab a ladder and look for yourself

Legal action against Storm Chasers

Actions of Strom Chasers have gotten to be so bothersome that several states have implemented laws to help protect consumers.  In the state of Wisconsin, the relevant statute does the following: 

  • Prevents contractors from offering to pay or rebate a homeowner’s insurance deductible
  • Requires the contract to include verbiage that acknowledges if work is or isn’t related to a claim under a property insurance policy
  • Prohibits contractors from representing a consumer or negotiating an offer on behalf of the consumer with the insurance company
  • Allows consumers to cancel a contract if their property insurance claim is denied

Have you been approached by a Storm Chaser in the past?  What red flags caught your attention? Any suggestions to fellow homeoweners?  Let us know in the comments!

 

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Photo via pioblo on sxc.hu