Protecting Yourself from Homeowners Insurance Fraud

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Protecting Yourself from Homeowners Insurance Fraud

by | Jul 6, 2021

As an individual homeowner, you rarely need to call an insurance agent or company to report an incident, but when you do, you’ll need to offer a full description of what happened. Damage may be due to a fire, a falling tree, or wind and hail storms. An insurance adjuster is assigned to come out and establish a cause by ruling out damage from wear and tear or deliberate neglect. You need to get a quote from a local roofing company or licensed contractor to compare with the adjuster’s evaluation and agree on the cause of the damage and legitimate repair costs.

When bad weather runs through a region, some roofing companies start knocking on doors and making calls to homeowners right away. Be sure to learn more about the company online before signing a contract or paying an invoice. Homeowners who want a quick fix can be taken in by a scam.

What is Insurance Fraud?
Insurance fraud is a deliberate attempt to deceive an insurance company to pay or overcompensate for a claim. It is illegal and puts you at risk for:

• Substandard roofing repair or replacement
• Cancelled insurance policy
• Unaffordable replacement coverage
• Fines or arrest

Some unsavory companies and individual contractors look for weather patterns and uncertain homeowners for opportunities to commit insurance fraud. What should you be aware of so you don’t get taken in?

Do You Know the Signs of Insurance Fraud?
You might get a call from a roofing company you’ve never heard of or a contractor who offers to repair your roof damage at no cost, as long as you file an insurance claim. They will tell you they can cover the cost of your deductible by inflating the bid. After taking a deposit, they may cut costs during the repair, leave the work incomplete, or vanish. Some contractors exaggerate or describe damage that doesn’t exist to get the insurance company to pay more. They know insurance adjusters are spread thin during large weather events, and their quotes may not be scrutinized.

A roofing contractor may appear at your door claiming to be completing work in the area and offering “free inspections.” After the inspection, they conclude you have damage to your roof that needs immediate attention. They will play to your fears, lack of knowledge about roofing and claims processes, and offer discounts and convenience. Again, they will ask for a deposit or payment upfront, may not start or complete the job, and make themselves available.

A legitimate roofing company may ask for a reasonable deposit at the beginning of a job to cover the cost of materials, but they do not ask you to pay the entire invoice in advance. An itemized invoice is approved by the adjuster before collecting a deposit, or any work begins. Don’t ever rush into a binding contract with a roofing company without doing your research first. It is a good idea to have more than one estimate and compare them. If they are very different descriptions of work and costs, there is a problem.

What Questions Should You Ask a Roofing Company?
1. Ask for references and follow up to verify the roofer’s quality of work and the clients’ satisfaction.
2. Get a copy of the contractor’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance coverages and make sure they are up-to-date.
3. Call the state licensing board to confirm the contractor’s license.
4. Request a detailed written proposal for the work to be done, the timeline to start and finish the job, and the payment milestones.
5. Validate the business’s address, phone number, and tax ID number.
6. Ask for a warranty for your roofing materials and work being performed.

At Rose Roofing, we keep our clients and our company safe. Insurance fraud is a serious and punishable crime. Even if the homeowner unwittingly becomes entangled in a scam, they will likely be held responsible for the fraud. That is why it’s better to do your research and go with a reputable company. Your decision should not be based on costs alone. They are justified by the contractor’s knowledge regarding the extent of damage and average material and labor costs. When your roofing company has developed a relationship with primary insurers in the area, they are trusted to submit accurate estimates and have a reputation for guaranteed superior work.

Rose Roofing respects insurance companies and even partners with private adjusters in addition to the one provided by the claims department. An excellent way to avoid fraud is to vet local roofing companies and contractors before you have a claim. Schedule an annual roofing inspection to do a wellness check on the condition of your roof during good weather. Talk about the current age of the shingles, the location of trees near the home, how often you clean the gutters and ask for maintenance recommendations. You’ll find out if you can trust them to handle a claim in an emergency.

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