The Minneapolis/St. Paul southern metro was recently pounded by a large hail storm. Reports had hail stones ranging from quarter sized all the way up to golf ball sized and a little bigger. Some estimates are stating that 50,000+ roofs were damaged and might need replacing.
So here are a couple realities of the aftermath from a hail storm:
– Storm chasers are out full force. They are knocking on your front door or are calling you at night. They are trying to get you to sign a “subject to” or “agreement” and will meet with your adjuster on your behalf. A “subject to” or an “agreement” IS a signed contract and you are LOCKED into that contract after your adjuster approves the repairs of any damaged items. Expect a 25% cancellation fee if you try to back out of the contract after your claim is approved.
– Storm chasers often hire anybody with a pulse to knock on your front door or call you at home. These new hires often have little to no experience in either the roofing business or handling insurance claims for homeowners.
– Storm chasers from out of state will often work under a local contractor’s building license. This is illegal but rarely enforced. Be careful of contractors with out of state license plates as most will tell you that they are local or the company they represent is local, which is really the half truth!
– Many local contractors will often over sell the storm by signing too many customers and then not have the ability to get all of the repairs done in a timely fashion. Some contractors often hire new “crews” to help with the work load. These new “crews” often don’t care about the customer or contractor they are working for, which leads to mistakes, which could be costly to YOU.
– Rebating or free deductibles are illegal. Yard sign fees, upgrades, or any other form of rebating your deductible is illegal and is considered insurance fraud. Most shady contractors only care about fast cash and will offer everything but the kitchen sink in order to get your signature. If something is too good to be true than it normally is. Insurance companies must receive a final invoice from your contractor in order for your insurance co. to release any depreciation or holdback (2nd check). Rebating deductibles usually involves a contractor submitting a false invoice to the insurance company so that all depreciation is paid. The law doesn’t protect homeowners who claim that they didn’t know that rebating deductibles was illegal. Ignorance of the law does not protect you.
Be careful who you choose. Here are a couple tips on where you can find a trustworthy contractor:
- Ask your friends, family and neighbors. Word of mouth is the best referral you can receive.
- Look in your local church or community bulletin or newsletter. Lots of local contractors advertise where they interact.
- Search the Web, or more specifically HomeAdvisor.com, Houzz.com or AngiesList.com. Here is where you can see online references from current customers like yourself.
- Go to BNIMN.com. This is a local business referral network in your own backyard. Search for your city and then find whatever business you are looking for.
- Verify every contractor by going to https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/lookup/licensing.aspx. This is the Minnesota Dept of Labor website and you can verify if the contractor’s license and insurance is up to date.