Homeowners Insurance Quote | When you become the news. Investigative reports seem very far away when you see them on television. That could never be you, you think.
But some contractors are bringing one roofing scam to life for Florida homeowners.
How the scam works. Unscrupulous roofing contractors are scoping out neighborhoods with aging roofs, sometimes even manufacturing the damage themselves before knocking on unsuspecting homeowners’ doors to tell them they have hail damage and could receive a free new roof, courtesy of their insurance company.
Hail damage? In Florida? While uncommon, it’s possible, which could be what trips up homeowners in the first place. Anything is possible.
“Let me show you,” the roofing contractor says, and they may even perform a free inspection for you (note the word free again, always a red flag).
There does appear to be some damage, you think.
The truth is the damage the contractor is referring to could be normal wear-and-tear, or even damage the roofer has manufactured. Just as car insurance doesn’t cover new brake pads, home insurance doesn’t cover new roofs due to normal wear-and-tear.
Look both ways before signing. Stop and consider this before moving forward with the roofing contractor’s recommendations:
- Have you called your insurance company yet? If you haven’t, do so before continuing any further conversation with the roofing contractor and before signing anything.
- Does anything else on your property have hail damage? Your car? Your patio furniture? If it doesn’t, that’s another red flag. What kind of hailstorm targets only your roof? While hail claims on homes continue to rise in Florida, there has not been an increase in auto damage claims.
Alternate ending #1: You contacted your homeowners insurance company first (Great job!). They will send an adjuster out to verify the damage and let you know what is covered under your insurance policy.
If hail damage to your roof is found, it may not require an entire roof replacement. Consider this: If the bumper on your car was damaged, would your whole car be replaced? No. The same is true for your roof. If a few shingles are damaged, it may not require an entire roof replacement.
Alternate ending #2: You did NOT contact your homeowners insurance company first. You may be drawn further into this scam when the roofer persuades you to sign an “assignment of benefit” contract. When you sign this type of contract you may be giving up your rights to your claim under your homeowner’s policy and any monies for your damage to that contractor. This can have very negative consequences to you if there is a dispute between the contractor and the insurance company. You may no longer have control or a legal right to your claim.
If your insurance company challenges the expenses submitted by the contractor, the contractor could - again, legally - file a contractor's lien which might ultimately allow for foreclosure on your home.
Tips on How to Avoid this Scam.
- Contact your insurance company immediately for anything that involves a claim on your home. While some contractors do great work, only your insurance company can tell you what is covered under your policy and should be notified up front.
- Don’t sign contracts you don’t fully understand, especially if the contract states “assignment of benefits.” Any contract that states “assignment of benefits” is something that needs to be read carefully to fully understand the impact.
- Understand your coverage. Insurance is for sudden unexpected events, not for normal wear-and-tear.
- Beware of “roof envy.” If you’ve noticed recently a lot of your neighbors have gotten new roofs, be cautious. Unscrupulous contractors are not only targeting individual homeowners, but entire neighborhoods.
For more on homeowners insurance quotes in Pensacola, Fl. please visit us online to request a quote!