Watch Out For “Free Roof” Offers

Consumers need to proceed with caution when approached by roofing contractors with unsolicited offers to inspect their roof for damage in order to generate an insurance claim. Too often, these offers are part of a fraud scheme by dishonest contractors who misrepresent wear-and-tear as storm damage or, in some extreme cases, actually damage the roof to create a claim.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Insurance coverage for damage to a roof is based upon the roof sustaining damage from a “covered peril” – all covered perils are listed in the actual insurance policy wording. Further insures generally will not pay to replace the entire roof unless the entire roof is damaged due to a “required peril”. Keep in mind that insurance coverage does not pay for maintenance or for a roof that has to be replaced due to normal aging, or wear and tear.

Tips for homeowners who are approached by a roofing company making these claims:

·         Be wary of unsolicited offers to repair your roof, particularly if they suggest that your insurer will pay for the repairs.

·         Check out a contractor’s license, credentials, and reputation before you allow them to access your property. It is also a good idea to check for references and to check with the Better Business Bureau.

·         If a contractor is only interested in identifying and repairing damage that might be covered by insurance, that could be a sign of fraud.

·         Do not sign a document that purports to “assign” your insurance claim to the contractor. It is illegal for a contractor to submit and negotiate an insurance claim on your behalf; only a licensed public adjuster can do that.

·         When you hire a contractor, your insurer will work with you and the contractor to determine the scope of the covered damage, the amount payable under your policy, and how the repair costs will be paid.