Your Ultimate Guide to Surviving Storm Season

Hello, neighbors!

I’m a Sales Manager at your neighborhood roofing company, here to help guide you through Nebraska’s storm season. My goal here is to serve, not sell; I am only here to offer genuine advice to keep storm damage repair on a roof that will warrant a full inspection and repair your home safe and sound. If you find this information helpful, please feel free to share it—let’s help as many of our neighbors as we can!

🌩️ 1. When Hail Strikes: If you’re home when a storm hits, use your phone to record video and snap photos of the hail. This visual evidence is incredibly important for insurance purposes. If you’re not home, ask a neighbor or nearby friend to do it for you. Remember, the closer they are to your home, the better!

📸 2. After the Storm Passes: Inspect your property for any damage. Take pictures of affected areas—if possible, document the size of the hail stones that hit your area. Find the largest hail stones you can and snap some photos with them placed next to a measuring tape. Don’t forget to also capture images of any damage to your yard and home exterior. This includes plants, tree leaves, and patio furniture. These details not only demonstrate the storm’s impact but also help in ensuring a comprehensive residential roofing claim process. Many insurance policies have specific requirements for claims, and proving the extent of the damage is key.

🏠 3. Professional Inspection: Before calling your insurance carrier, it’s crucial to have your roof inspected by professionals if the hail was more than pea sized. It’s important to understand that not all roof inspections are of the same quality. Many roofing companies provide minimal training to their salespeople, leading to inconsistent and sometimes unreliable assessments.

Don’t merely take someone’s word for it; insist on seeing comprehensive photo documentation of your roof. A few minor marks, like 2-3 bruises, usually aren’t sufficient to justify an insurance claim. True hail damage should be clearly evident and extensive, impacting not just shingles but also other components such as gutters, windows, and siding. All of these should be thoroughly inspected and documented.

We’ve seen numerous cases where homeowners have sought a second opinion from us after being advised by other companies to file a claim—only to discover the evidence presented included photos from different properties or wasn’t nearly enough to warrant a claim. Always ensure the damage assessment is legitimate and specific to your home before proceeding with a claim.

This step can prevent unnecessary claims, which could affect your policy in the long run.

🚪 4. Door-to-Door Roofers: “Not everyone who knocks on your door is trying to scam you, but anyone attempting to scam you will likely come knocking on your door.”

When a roofer knocks on your door offering a free inspection, it’s essential to ask several key questions to determine their legitimacy and protect yourself from potential scams.

Here are some important questions to consider:

  • Company Background:
    • How long have you been in business?
    • Are you a local company?
    • Can you provide a local address and contact information?
  • Licensing and Insurance:
    • Are you licensed to work in this state?
    • Can you show proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance?
  • References and Reviews:
    • Can you provide references from recent jobs?
    • Do you have any online reviews I can check?
  • Certification and Affiliation:
    • Are you certified by any roofing manufacturers?
    • Are you a member of any national or local roofing associations?
  • Contract and Terms:
    • What does the inspection involve, and what do you check for?
    • What are the terms of any guarantee or warranty?
  • Details of Service:
    • How do you determine if storm damage repairs are necessary?
    • What steps do you take to protect my property during the work?
    • How do you handle unexpected repairs or cost overruns?

Signs of Potential Scammers:

  • High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Be wary of roofers who pressure you to sign a contract quickly or pay upfront.
  • Vague or Missing Details: Scammers often can’t provide detailed answers or refuse to offer written estimates or contracts.
  • Unmarked Vehicles or Lack of Professionalism: Professional roofing companies usually have clearly marked service vehicles and uniforms.
  • Requesting Full Payment Upfront: This is a common red flag; reputable companies typically require a deposit or payment upon completion.
  • Lack of Local Presence: Scammers often cannot provide a physical address or local references. Be cautious of storm chasers who establish temporary satellite offices, renting a small space for a few months to appear as a local company. A quick Google search of their office can help verify their physical presence in the community.

Asking these questions will help you gauge the roofer’s credibility and ensure you’re dealing with a reputable professional rather than falling prey to a scam.

🚩 5. Key Red Flags to Avoid:

When engaging with roofing contractors, especially following a suggestion of storm damage, it’s crucial to recognize several potential red flags that can help you avoid scams and unethical practices:

  • Immediate Claims Pressure: Exercise caution around roofers who rush you to file insurance claims. This urgency often leads to fraudulent claims or unnecessary repairs that negatively impact your insurance record. Steer clear if pressured to act hastily.
  • Signing Documents Hastily: Be wary of signing an “Assignment of Benefits” (AOB) or any document hastily. An AOB transfers your claim rights to the roofer, potentially leading to abuses and unwarranted legal actions against your insurer. Such practices are illegal in numerous states due to their potential for exploitation.
  • Verifying Experience and Credibility: Longevity in the roofing business is a strong indicator of reliability. While newer roofers may offer competitive pricing, always ensure they come recommended with verifiable references.
  • Licensing and Reference Checks: A reputable roofer will readily provide their licensing details, insurance proof, and a list of references. If a contractor hesitates or fails to provide these, it’s a significant warning sign.
  • Contracts and Permissions: Be cautious of roofers asking for signatures just to inspect your roof, as this can sometimes be misused to assert agreement to expensive repairs. Always read any document thoroughly before signing and avoid being pressured into immediate decisions.

The Biggest Red Flag: Waiving Deductibles

One of the most significant red flags in roofing is a company that offers to cover, waive, or “eat” your insurance deductible. Although saving money upfront is tempting, both the roofer and the homeowner (often unknowingly) engage in insurance fraud when participating in this practice. Insurance carriers are increasingly vigilant about this issue, and not all homeowners realize that they risk committing a felony if their roofer offers such a deal. It’s crucial to understand that legitimate and ethical roofing companies will never propose to waive your deductible as it is against the law.

Final Advice: Choose a roofer who treats you as a partner rather than just another job. They should patiently address your concerns, provide comprehensive documentation, and conduct business transparently. High-pressure tactics, incomplete answers, or demands for unreasonable upfront payments are clear indicators to seek services elsewhere.

For Omaha residents looking for a trusted roofing contractor, feel free to contact me directly or check my profile for further information on securing reliable roofing services. Stay informed and protect your home by making well-considered decisions.

Stay safe and proactive, Bryan Hickam Sales Manager at Anchor Roofing

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