When hail comes knocking, consumers may find a contractor at their door offering an inspection or repair. Some may insist the consumer would need to act fast.
“You know, your roof is really damaged and the insurance company isn't going to let you do this unless you act quickly. We have a sale because we're already on your street. Okay, yeah,” said Karen Vermaire Fox, executive director of the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association, a trade group with around 400 members.
Before you let a stranger onto your roof, understand Texas doesn’t require state level licensing for roofers and general contractors. It’s up to consumers to check them out.
“Do they have a local address? Will they be around six, nine, 12 months from now when you might need them to come back and look at something? Or are they just a storm chaser?” asked Fox.
Other steps consumers can take include: researching the roofer and company name, ask about their experience in roofing and look into how long the roofer has been in business under the same name. Request references and follow up with them.
Fox said consumers should also ask to see a certificate of insurance, “If you don't have a contractor that carries general liability insurance, what if they drop a ladder on your car? What if they fall off the roof?”
You can take it a step further by contacting the insurance company to confirm the policy is current.
“If you have a good roofing contractor, they're going to be like, yes, I have insurance. Here, call. If they don't let you, don't use them,” said Fox. “Pick someone else.”
Fox said move on if the roofer offers to waive or cover your insurance deductible – that’s not legal.
While you may pay for materials when they’re delivered, Fox said don’t pay for the job up front or agree to sign over insurance proceeds.
Remember to get multiple bids and consider them carefully. The lowest bid may not be the best deal.
If someone comes to your door and pressures you for a sale, take a step back.
“If you have a leak, if there's something wrong, you want to get that tarped, but that doesn't mean you have to go to construction right away,” Fox said.
Read the fine print, and confirm if you’re signing a contract to tarp a roof or agreeing to future repairs.
You can find additional tips from the NTRCA here.
The Texas Department of Insurance published this list of questions consumers can ask contractors.
The Better Business Bureau shares tips for consumers recovering after a natural disaster here.
Read the complete story here.