The term “Storm Chaser” refers to contractors who will temporarily work in an area after a major storm. Basically, they come into an area wanting to make a quick sale and then move on to the next storm. Here in North Georgia we recently experienced a hail event specifically on July 21st. The storm affected Metro Atlanta from Cumming all the way over to Athens with documented hail and wind. Whenever a major storm like that comes through an area you can usually expect Storm chasers to be close behind. There are a few tell-tale signs that can make them easy to spot and a number of reasons why you should watch out for them.
Here’s your sign….
When you have a major storm in your area there are a few things that you can look out for that stick out and are easy to spot. Here’s what to look for:
Generic Information and Marketing Material:
Most storm chasers hop around so much that they generally buy very generic marketing materials such as business cards and flyers to keep from having to pay for new stuff. Most of these flyers say a few things like “Wind and Hail Alert” or “Insurance will Pay”. In fact, there are plenty of roofing companies that put this information on their flyers. One of the biggest things you can look for to tell that they are a storm chaser is to see if there is a physical address on their card or a P.O. box. Most storm chasers will get a local P.O. box to make it seem as if they are local when they could have came from a couple of states away. Also check out their phone number to see if they have a local area code.
Magnets on Trucks and Out of State License Plates:
Another easy way to spot them is to look at what they are driving. A couple of easy things to spot that are pretty common amongst storm chasers are vehicles that don’t have any kind of company information (such as a company branded vehicle) and trucks with magnets. Storm chasers generally don’t pay to have their vehicles to be properly branded and will either use magnets or nothing on their vehicles because they don’t stay very long. Some storm chasers will have a branded vehicle. Check out their license plate to see if it’s local. This is a simple and effective way to spot them.
No Deductible/Cover Your Deductible:
If a roofer(storm chaser or not) tells you they will “cover your deductible” or they say “you won’t have a deductible” is most likely committing some form of insurance fraud. They will do your roof for less than the insurance company offers to pay but still bill them for the full amount. Here’s an example: Say your insurance adjuster says it will take $10,000 to replace the roof. The roofer will then do your roof for $9,000 but bill the insurance company for the full amount. By billing for the full amount when they only put a $9,000 roof on is FRAUD. They pocket the extra thousand and use that to “cover” your deductible.
Because there are plenty of reason to worry about storm chasers but here are the big ones:
Once It’s On, They’re Gone
Storm chasers will usually put on the cheapest materials, use the cheapest crews, and leave you with shoddy work and a cheap roof. They try to keep their cost low so that they can take full advantage of what insurance companies will pay out. If you start having issue with your roof because it wasn’t properly installed, chances are you’ll never hear from them again. Most of them either move on to the next storm or just avoid you until they go to the next storm.
Storm chasers almost never offer a warranty. One reason they don’t do this is because they don’t have a local supplier and they want to buy the cheapest materials. Another reason being they don’t want to deal with any issues they have after the install. You always want to make sure that your roof protects your home in the long run. Make sure you ask and verify warranties.
Licenses and Insurance
Unfortunately in the state of Georgia you don’t have to have a license to be a roofing contractor. This allows storm chasers to come in without having to pay for a license. Also ask for a current copy of their insurance policy. Roofing insurance is very expensive so many of them either don’t pay for it or have whats called a “Ghost Policy”. This is where they pay their first premium and get a certificate of insurance to show people and then they stop payment after that. If they damage the home or have someone get hurt on your property, then you as the homeowner could be on the hook to cover these things.
Don’t Get Scammed
As a homeowner you obviously want to protect your biggest investment, your home. Generally storm chasers just want to get you money and get gone. so remember:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
- Check them out on Google, Bing, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, etc…
CHECK TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE LOCAL
- Check their flyer, license plate, area codes etc..
- Ask for a list of local references. They likely won’t provide one.
LOOK OUT FOR “COVERED” DEDUCTIBLES”
- Remember, this is insurance fraud.
- Reputable local contractors will have plenty of local references, a physical location/address, and a strong local brand.
If you have storm chasers leaving hangers and knocking on your door, do you research. Roofing Resources of Georgia is a local platinum contractor with Owens Corning and we’ve been in business since 2010. We stay local because we care about our community and giving our customers the most quality roof and warranties out there. If you’ve had storm chasers knocking on your door, give us a call!