Organizing a roof repair or replacement for your home isn’t exactly a walk in the park; while some contractors will be your trusted advocate every step of the way, others will exploit your stress to win the job and maximize their profit. It’s not uncommon for some contractors to commit insurance fraud right under your nose – and you’ll be responsible for it in the form of a felony, even if you were unaware of it. Here are some signs you might be dealing with one of these scams.
They Offer to Pay Your Deductible
It might be tempting to hire a contractor who says they’ll cover your deductible for you, giving you virtually free work, but this is a blatant indication that they intend to commit insurance fraud. It’s illegal for a contractor to pay for a homeowner’s insurance deductible for roof repair or replacement – plain and simple. And, as we said earlier, you could end up being charged with a felony if you allow it to happen.
Of course, when a contractor says they’ll “cover” your deductible, that isn’t what will actually happen. It’s what they tell you to earn your business, but then the contractor will turn around and bill the insurance company for the cost of that deductible, because they have to get that money from someone. This tactic benefits the contractor because it enables them to get more jobs up-front, but it ultimately punishes you and other homeowners when it raises the cost of homeowners insurance premiums.
Door-to-Door Offers or Free Inspections
Particularly during stormy seasons when roof damage is more likely, it’s common for illegitimate roofing contractors to go door-to-door looking to earn quick money. They might offer you a free inspection or pressure you into accepting a “today only” deal on a roof repair. While these tactics alone aren’t considered insurance fraud, they’re red flags that indicate you could be dealing with the type of contractor who would happily commit fraud to get the job.
A qualified, trustworthy roofing contractor will not go door-to-door, preying on anxious homeowners after a storm (or anytime, for that matter). Plus, if you’re ever feeling pressured to make a quick decision, you aren’t dealing with a contractor who has your best interest in mind. Proper roof claims and repairs should be handled in the completely opposite manner – allowing the homeowner and the contractor to think through every scenario and make the best decision based on the circumstances.
Lack of References and Clear Contact Information
Like any important purchase, roof repair or replacement services should be vetted thoroughly. You wouldn’t select a doctor for an important surgery without reviewing their credentials or book a pricey vacation rental without reading through the reviews, and this isn’t any different. If you’re considering a roofing company that can’t produce any positive references, it’s a glaring sign that you shouldn’t trust them with your project.
They should also have easily accessible contact information and proof that they’re running a certified business. When hiring someone for any kind of construction work – not just roof work – don’t be afraid to ask for their:
- Permanent business address
- Tax ID number
- Business license
- Proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance
If they refuse to provide any of this information or you find inconsistencies in the information they’ve provided, you’ll want to find a different contractor.
How Insurance Fraud Affects Us All
While the instant gratification of a “paid-for” deductible seems nice, it ultimately has a negative impact on insurance premiums. Why? Each time an insurance company gets stuck paying the deductible a homeowner was supposed to pay, the cost of insuring people’s homes goes up. In turn, the cost of your insurance goes up, which costs you far more money in the long run. If the risk of being convicted of a crime isn’t enough to stop you from taking these “we’ll cover your deductible” roofing deals, keep in mind you’re also risking a higher insurance premium – not just for you, for everyone.
Tips for Avoiding Insurance Fraud
- Double-check references and contact information. If reviews seem inconsistent or fake, or you can’t find clear company and contact information for your roofing contractor, you may want to pass on their services. There are plenty of contractors out there who will clearly be legitimate from the get-go.
- Don’t entertain door-to-door solicitors. You have valid reasons to not trust them for roof repair, including that they typically use high-pressure sales tactics to trick you into making rash decisions.
- Don’t pay in full up-front. You shouldn’t need to cut your contractor a final check until their work is done.
- Don’t sign a contract you don’t understand, or that you’re being rushed to sign. A legitimate contractor will want to answer all your questions and address your concerns before your pen hits the paper. Also, make sure your contract includes a description of the work to be performed, materials to be used, dates of completion and payment method.
- Get a written estimate with a clear breakdown of all the costs involved in your repair job. This estimate should have clear company branding, or at least qualifying company information.
- Above all else, listen to your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Knowledgeable, Honest Roof Contractor in Indianapolis
Are you overwhelmed with handling your roof insurance claim? Our experienced insurance roofing experts at Indy Roof Company are here to help you understand and navigate the process. Our goal is to get your repair done in a timely manner, but also get you the reimbursement check you deserve from your insurance policy.
We also specialize in roof repair or replacement caused by storm damage. Whether you need a quick patch or a whole roof replacement, our Indianapolis roofers are available 24/7 to get started. Call Indy Roof Company today!