Storm Chasers: Beware of contractors working closely with insurance companies
We’ve all heard the stories. The storms come and rip the roof off. You call your insurance company and they tell you to get a quote. Then the roof salesman stops by and makes promises that are too good to be true, explains all the work that he is going to do, then makes a sweet deal to basically giveaway the work or even give them some money back! This is all done with no investment required from the customer supposedly as it is all going to be handled between the contractor and insurance company.
Who could pass up a deal like this? Get all the work done for free and then get some money back to pay for a down payment on a new car or to take the family on that long overdue vacation. After all, it is not your fault that the hail or wind damaged the roof in the first place so there is no good reason you shouldn’t take advantage of this act of god, right?
Unfortunately, nothing is ever this easy. Stories like these usually end in tragedy.
Insurance companies make money by collecting as much in payments as they can from their customers, and then pay out as little as possible on claims. Too often, we have seen customers trying to use them as if they were their own little secret bank or lender. Nothing is for free, and even if you do get one over on your insurance company, they end up making it back ten fold with an increase in your rates.
Even worse, if you end up getting swindled by what are called “storm chasers”, you could end up losing a lot of money or even get indicted on fraud charges. If you are told something seemingly as harmless as a company covering your deductible a red flag should go up immediately. Certain companies will tell you they will pay you back a percentage of the claim or even pay you an “advertising fee” for placing a sign in your yard. The problem is that when the insurance company doesn’t end up paying out as much as expected, you are still responsible for paying the contractor the full inflated balance.
Regardless if you take such a case to court or not, the majority of the time you are held liable because you were a consenting adult signing a legal contract and the rest is just hearsay. Before giving a contractor any money for a deposit or signing any contract make sure everything that you discussed is clearly in writing. It is much easier to negotiate the details upfront instead of arguing about what was ow was not supposed to be done after the fact. Check out this article to see a specific reference to one of these atrocities: Click Here.