We moved into our brand-new house in Central Park west not quite two years ago. In the last year my husband and I have noticed an astonishing number of new roofs going up in our neighborhood. We, of course, have had roof salesmen showing up at our house after the slightest storm offering to “inspect” our two-year-old roof. We politely decline and if they persist we not so politely slam the door. So when we noticed all of the “sales” these roofers where making off of our neighbors, we just shook our heads. How could these roofs, constructed only a few years ago, have so much damage? Of course they don’t and insurance companies and homeowners are being ripped off along with our nearly new roofs!
We figured it wasn’t really our problem until we got our home owners policy renewal last week and our premiums have increased by nearly 20% which is, at least in part, due to “increasing claims of storm damage” in our area. Now, it’s personal. This is not to mention the environmental impact of tearing off and replacing a roof unnecessarily.
The scam works like this 1) someone knocks on your door offering to inspect your roof 2) they find hail damage 3) they offer to work with your insurance company to make the claim so you don’t have to do anything 4) they may offer to pay your deductible…free roof! 5) They slap up a new roof using cheap labor and make a fortune off of your insurance company. What goes on behind the scenes is that these people handling the claims process for you will make a case for the damage, some disreputable companies will even create damage with hammers that mimic hail damage, even “microscopic damage” can be claimed. The cost to insurance companies of fighting these claims is not worth it and so they will pay (http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2014/05/02/248354.htm). But alas, somebody will have to bear the burden of the cost to the insurance company and guess who that is? All of us!
We have not had exceptionally bad hail storms in the last couple of years and I believe our homes were built with solid roofs. Will our neighbors be convinced to replace their roofs every few years? It’s not that I blame my neighbors, I’m sure they believed they needed new roofs. I just thought we should get the word out. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Denver/Boulder closed 100 complaints against roofers in 2013. The BBB has tips on their website to help consumers avoid these scams (http://www.bbb.org/denver/news-events/news-releases/2014/05/bbb-warns-pof-untrustworthy-roofers-after-hail-storms/).
I don’t think people realize the repercussions of using your insurance. Nothing is truly “free”. We are the only people on our street that didn’t get our roof replace last year, and now I’m seeing a whole new round of roof repair starting up after the last storm. I have never seen any evidence of loose shingles after any of the big storms we’ve had. I hadn’t thought about my insurance going up because of it, but now I have another reason to be annoyed in addition to the incessant noise from the hammering and air compressors running all day long. 😀