When you hear the term “storm chasers” you think of the crazy adventurers who insert themselves in severe weather situations for science and/or thrills. Unfortunately, we will not be talking about them. We will be discussing the subset of storm chasers who are roofers that get their thrill of making fast money off of you and your neighbors.
What are storm chasers?
Storm chasers are roofing contractors who follow in the wake of severe weather incidents with hopes of doing a lot of repair work and usually very quickly.
Here is a brief example of what a storm chaser looks for:
- The contractor watches for severe weather to strike a region. “Severe weather” can mean anything from a hail storm to a tornado.
- Following the storm, the contractor rounds up a crew, travels to the affected area and begins to use aggressive tactics to drum up business that can range from annoying to shady to scary. The storm chaser offers to repair storm damage done to a homeowner’s roof at little or no cost to the homeowner.
- How is this possible? By encouraging homeowners to make use of their home insurance policies. Some storm chasers even offer to pay the homeowner’s deductible, or offer cash back!
- The storm chaser completes a rush job on the roof, and a few years later, it’s already beginning to fail; or, in some cases, storm chasers have been known to simply take the money and run.
A real-life storm chaser incident:
One of our insureds, let’s call him Bob, recalled a time when there was a bad storm and sure enough the storm chasers came a calling. Bob recalls the companies hounding him and trying to force him to sign a contract. Thankfully Bob refused but unfortunately, some of his neighbors did sign. They were promised a free roof because the insurance company would pay for the repairs and the storm chaser would take care of the deductible. More than six months after the storm many of the homes still do not have new roofs that they were promised.
Bob thankfully called Konen first and asked for some advice on what he should do. At Konen, we directed him to a reputable reconstruction company that inspected his roof and found no damage. Bob avoided making a claim on his file and had the reassurance that his roof was fine.
Difference between a professional contractor vs a storm chaser:
A storm chaser is here today, gone tomorrow. A professional contractor is someone that is local and will be here throughout the repair process. One sign that you are dealing with a storm chaser compared to a professional contractor is the storm chaser will come to your home immediately following a storm. You did not call the storm chaser to your home and they just showed up. A professional contractor is a roofer you call personally to come to the home. Here at Konen, we know some roofers that in the event of a storm will take good care of you.
If you are ever doing repairs from a roofer or any contractor here are some pro tips that will help you avoid a headache.
- Pay with a credit card. You can dispute the transaction if you are charged and the roofer leaves without completing the work. This way there is a record of the amount paid.
- Discuss a payment schedule. Most companies will discuss a schedule and have it in writing. NEVER pay for a job upfront. Be wary of anyone that says you have to pay in full to get the work completed.
- The best type of payment schedule is to pay in thirds. A third to start the work. A third at the midway point and a third when the work is completed. Again, pay with a credit card for these third payments so if nothing is completed you can dispute the charge.