Buyer beware of the “Free Roof” approach by storm chasers

Bad Free Roof Ads - LER - www.lermn

We have received many calls from homeowners over the years who tell us a disturbing, yet common story.  They tell us a roofer knocked on their door, told them they have storm damage to their roof and they could be entitled to a new roof paid for by their insurance company. Many of these homeowners had roofs older than 10+yrs so the prospect of a “free” new roof sounds wonderful, because ultimately, they already know they are nearing the time to replace their roof. The “storm chasing” roofers say things like “it’s a no brainer” and “why would you want to pay $10k out of pocket for a new roof when I can help you get your insurance company to pay for a new roof with NO money out of your pocket?”

The majority of the insurance companies in Minnesota have caught on to this trick being played by  “storm chasing” roofers. Here’s what really happens:  They convince a homeowner there is storm damage to their roof and to file a claim for what really is non-existent storm damage. The insurance company sends out an insurance adjuster to inspect your property for storm damage. Insurance adjusters are trained to find damage, and when they don’t find any actual damage caused by a storm, they will deny your claim. Next you will receive a denial letter from your insurance company. Now your insurance company knows you have an old roof and they may also include a letter stating that you must replace your roof, at your expense, because it’s old and in bad shape through natural wear and tear.  This will most likely include a “deadline”. If you don’t repair or replace your old roof, your insurance company can consider the roof to be uninsurable and deny future legitimate claims.  The insurance company could also cancel your coverage, thus making it difficult and expensive to find new homeowners coverage.  Most “storm chasing” roofers will never tell you this because they know you’d never gamble with the chance of a “free roof” knowing it can backfire into you having to replace your roof, not with insurance proceeds, but with money out of your own bank account.

Many “storm chasing” roofers will claim they haven’t seen a single roof in your area without storm damage. This is often false and easy to bust by visiting the official NOAA storm reports of storm damage in your area (click here to see actual storm reports). The reason these “storm chasing” roofers love old roofs is because they think they can convince the insurance adjuster to pay for a new one because of the age of the roof, and sometimes the condition. If the insurance company doesn’t agree, no sweat off their back, they move along to the next home/town/state. Insurance companies don’t pay out claims for normal wear and tear to a roof, or even the age or condition of the roof. They only pay for legitimate storm damaged roofs.

Spring time is here and “storm chasing” roofers will be knocking on every door with an old roof offering the promise of getting your insurance company to pay for a new roof. Again, “Free Roof” will be their promise and they might even tell you “no money out of your pocket” and you will not have to pay your deductible (which is illegal and considered insurance fraud). But remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch and buyer beware.

We have been in the roofing business for over 15 years. We’ve worked with hundreds of homeowners and their insurance company’s on legitimate storm related claims. Our goal is to use our expertise to help you, the homeowner. We’ve taken an ethical stand that we will not put homeowners in a bad situation. If you’ve been approached by a “storm chaser”, give us a call for a second opinion. We’re not afraid to “turn down business” when we know it’s the right thing to do!


New Energy Star Changes for 2015….

Window, door and skylight manufacturers will have new Energy Star ratings for the start of 2015. The EPA is responsible for setting the Energy Star ratings and the EPA concluded that it must toughen up the Energy Star ratings so that it meets or surpasses the ever changing residential building code requirements. SO what does this mean to the average homeowner?

1. Prices will go up. All of the window manufacturers will have to spend thousands to millions of dollars on re-designing their windows to meet the new Energy Star ratings. And ultimately these costs will be absorbed by the end user, which is the homeowner.

2. Not as many options. The new Energy Star ratings could put an end to double pane windows. Most window manufacturers will have to discontinue their double pane window for the more energy efficient triple pane window. Most double pane windows will not meet or exceed the new 2015 Energy Star ratings. So as a homeowner, you’ve just eliminated about 80% of the glass options for new windows.

triple pane

3. Longer wait times. Most vinyl windows can be ordered, delivered and installed in 2-4 weeks. Some even sooner if you go directly to Menards or Home Depot. But if a window needs more glass to meet the new Energy Star ratings, these windows could take longer to produce.

4. More condensation. With older windows, the energy in a home is lost through the drafty/leaky window frame and glass. As soon as new energy efficient windows are installed, that energy is now being trapped inside the home and will form on the glass as condensation. So the equation goes, the older the home + tougher Energy Star ratings = more condensation. Not to worry if you install a vinyl or fiberglass window, but a wood window could have issues after year 5.


5. Less Competetion. The market for window manufacturers could dwindle. Smaller window manufacturers will have to endure more costs to stay in business. They may decide to close up for good or be bought out by a larger window maker. This results in fewer options and higher costs for the homeowner.