Roofs, Insurance Companies, and lies (maybe)
June 30, 2005 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Hail Damage to Roof, roof companies everywhere! How do I know the right way to get a fair deal with all of these roof companies?

A recent large barage of storms occured in my city (Oklahoma) and caused quite a bit of rain and hail throughout the city. A week later, roof companies and their flyers and represntatives showed up at our doorstep. Unfortunately, our roof was damaged due to the physical leak that was inside our house. We followed up with one of the flyers for a "free estimate."

We called our insurance claims person as the company asked us to do and they(insurance company) sent a represetative out and estimated how much it would cost for a new roof and cut us a check for the payment.

Today, that company came by and wanted to look at the claim and check and I told them that I wanted that free estimate. They were wanting to see the claim and the numbers, but I wanted an estimate. This company claimed that they'll handle everything and that they will work with insurance company so that all we pay is the deductable.

My questions:

1) How does the process of getting a new roof work when insurance is involved?
2) Does this company seem reputable and would buy from them?
3) Does being part of the BBB really mean anything?

Feel free to ask for further info, I'll reply promptly. Thanks for the help!
posted by huy_le to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ok, you already have a check. I'm surprised that the Ins co. didn't offer contacts to reputable companies.

Act like you would if you were a business. Call several contractors and have them bid and compete for the job.
posted by snsranch at 5:23 PM on June 30, 2005

My house was a complete fixer upper and after a while I just got sick of not being satisfied with work and began the bid/competition thing. That really sets the mood for wanting to please the customer.

And, estimates should ALWAYS be free.
posted by snsranch at 5:30 PM on June 30, 2005

1. Yeah, that estimate had better be free.
2. When my house suffered major damage from ice damming in 2004, the insurance company cut me a check & left me to handle the repairs.
3. As I discovered the hard way, cheaper is not necessarily better when it comes to a roof; more expensive roofer #2 had to repair some the work of cheap roofer #1.
4. Get word-of-mouth recommendations from neighbors; some of the best roofers don't advertise.
5. Be prepared for unpleasant discoveries (e.g., severely damaged wood), and budget accordingly.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:30 PM on June 30, 2005

I am trying to sell my house and replace my roof with my insurance company as well. My insurance company said they would provide me with a list of their partner roofers that will match the price for the roof. I haven't received the check or the list yet, but I've heard good to slightly negative reviews of contractors recommended by the insurance companies. One thing to be aware of: insurance companies often don't cut you the full amount of the check up front. You have to show proof of having the work done to get the remainder. Also, in the case of a roof, it has to be the same type materials (ie, 30 year shingles, roof vents, etc). If you try to cheap out and get 20 year ones, then you will not be reimbursed the full amount.

So, basically, your insurance company will cut you a check for approximately 80% of the amount of the roof (minus your deductible). The roofer does the job. You pay them. You get a receipt. You submit the receipt to receive that final amount.

BBB only tells you if they HAVEN'T had major complaints - often people don't complain to the BBB, so it's a way to cross someone off your list, but nothing else.

Often the drive-by roofers are not from the area -- really ask around and see if you can get recommendations (coworkers, neighbors, friends, etc).
posted by j at 7:34 PM on June 30, 2005

Any contractor who wants to see your insurance check up front is definitely shady. Not on the final list.

Do the bid/compete thing. Get at least three estimates. Take your estimates to your insurance agent and ask him/her for an opinion. If your final choice comes out more than the check you recieved, go back to the agent for more money.

Never hire a contractor who finds you - only hire contractors that you find. {it's like any kind of marketing -- if they're contacting you, like a telemarketer or whatever, then you don't want what they're offering -- GOOD WORK/PRODUCT SELLS ITSELF} The more marketing anybody has behind them, the less likely they have anything you really want.

Absolutely get recommendations. Do not go with any contractor that can't give you verifiable local references. It's hard work to hire a good one, but it's hell to pay if you hire a bad one.

And you should really talk to your insurance agent. Your agent should be able to give you a short list (3 or 4) of contractors for any problem with your house. This would be a list that the agency (not just the big company behind the agent) has had good results with in the past.

The guy who sells you the insurance better be there to back it up when there's a problem. If your insuror doesn't have a local agent, then switch insurance soon.

[additional damage to the house from additional precipitation, if it occurs between when you filed a claim and when the eventual contractor can repair it, should also be covered under the initial claim -- again, talk to your agent]
posted by yesster at 9:25 PM on June 30, 2005

Membership in the BBB means nothing if they haven't been there for years. A contractor can change the name under which he does business, and suddenly he's "new". No complaints on file! This is analogous to tricks played in the garment industry with credit. Bankrupt in one name, new name, presto, clean record...(except there is an agency whose main claim to fame is tracking who's-who in that tricky business).

So, very much buyer beware! Yesster is on track.
posted by Goofyy at 10:54 PM on June 30, 2005

On another note, watch out for predatory roofers after a storm. Our house in Austin is being renovated in preparation for sale. Month or two ago, our contractor calls us after a big weekend storm. "Roofer came by here, said you needed major work, and it would be $xxx". I called a friend, had him go by and look, and he said "Dude, your roof is fine. Not a thing wrong with it."

When we went by to look at the house today while we were in town, every 2nd or 3rd house had a sign out front advertising whatever (different) roof company had recently done work. I'm convinced that the roofers canvassed the neighborhood after the hail storm and drummed up unneeded business.
posted by mrbill at 11:37 PM on June 30, 2005

mrbill--you're not up around Cameron Rd are you? I was just driving around there and everyone has roofer yard signs.

I'm also in Austin, also had hail damage to my roof recently (I had some minor pre-existing roof problems, so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise). I called my insurance company after the hailstorm to get an adjustor out and they cut me a check. I had three roofers come by, all referred on word of mouth. One of the three seemed to be more observant and less of a hustler than the other two, so I went with him.
posted by adamrice at 7:00 AM on July 1, 2005

To find a reputable contractor you can also try calling local lumber yards and construction supply stores, and ask them for a name or two. That'll get you their long-time customers who pay on time. It's another starting point, anyhow, and it worked for me.
posted by Daddio at 9:28 AM on July 1, 2005

adamrice: Burnet/Rutland area.
posted by mrbill at 6:09 PM on July 6, 2005

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