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February 20, 2013 / roqueagency

Free Roof Inspections and Your Homeowners Insurance

With the recent and most certain storms all too familiar to our area, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of TV and radio ads for roofing contractor and/or have experienced door to door solicitations for a “Free Roof Inspection”.  Please take caution!  One of our clients called in to our office the other day, unsure of what to do after a random door to door “Free Roof Inspection” solicitor like this one came a knocking:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ruhs5dAm4-k]

A word of caution here folks.  Don’t let just anybody climb on your home’s roof with a seemingly tantalizing offer for a “Free Roof Inspection”.  If they’re not properly licensed, bonded and insured, that Free Inspection may result in damages to your home or perhaps a costly lawsuit or liability claim against your homeowners insurance.

If you suspect your home has suffered possible damage from the recent or future storms, take the time to contact your Insurance Agent (don’t calls claims just yet) for advise on what to do.  He/she will likely have the names of some reputable contractors you can pick from, all fully licensed, bonded and insured, to come out and inspect your home for damage.

Whatever actions you take, be certain to check your Better Business Bureau for backgrounds and ask for that contractor’s business license, certificate of general liability and workman’s compensation insurance before allowing them on your property.  Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the safety of those visiting your premises.  And if Jack The Roofer gets your permission to climb onto your home without the proper credentials and coverage of his own, you might get stuck holding the bill.

While there are many reputable contractors, unfortunately disasters can bring out some unscrupulous firms.  We urge people to not be a victim twice, where first a storm takes your property and second, someone takes your pocketbook.  We are talking about one of the largest and most important investments people will make in their lifetime: their home.  It’s important to know they are in control when it comes to the rebuilding process.

If you’re a storm victim, experts say don’t become victimized again by fraudulent contractors.  Here are some helpful tips to follow:

Top 9 things for customers to consider after receiving storm damage:

1. Don’t let anyone on your roof until you speak with your insurance agent first.
2. If you get into a conversation with them, get their name, business address, and phone number. Call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Attorney General’s office and mention the contractor and repair discussions. Also, contact BBBs in surrounding states, as these firms travel. Keep in mind they may also disguise themselves by adopting the name of a reputable contractor in your area.
3. Don’t pay anything up front and don’t rush into signing a contract. Most state laws require roofing contractors to register with their State Constructions Industries Board. Provisions require them to show proof of liability and workers compensation insurance.
4. Look for an established, licensed roofer and request references.
5. Ask to see certificates of insurance to be sure both liability and workers compensation insurance coverage is carried, and are in force during the time the roofing work is being done.
6. Insist on a detailed, written estimate clearly stating the quantity of materials needed (labor charges; work specifications) which include approximate starting and completion dates; payment procedures and that any necessary building permits are secured. Consider paying in installments, based on how much of the work is done at certain times.
7. Carefully review and understand any warranty and watch for conditions that would void it.
8. Use caution (ask questions) before accepting a bid substantially lower than other bids covering the same repair work.
9. You may also contact your National Roofing Contractors Association for assistance in locating a professional contractor in a specific geographic area at 1-800-USA-ROOF or 1-800-872-7663 or go to http://www.nrca.net .

Here’s information to consider before filing a claim:

— If it’s safe to do so, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage, such as stopping water leaks. For example, you can cover openings with tarps.
— Keep your receipts, so you’ll have a record for the claim adjuster.
— Be patient. We are getting to those who were hit the hardest first, and making our way out from there.
— There is coverage for spoiled food in your refrigerator and freezer if it’s the result of a power outage caused by the storm. Generally not the unit but the contents.

Google+Luis Roque is a local Independent Agent who strives to help you to “Be Protected, Not Surprised. Get More Than You’re Already Paying For.”
Roque Agency Insurance is located at…

150 Uptown Square, Suite C
Murfreesboro, TN 37129.

Or click here to call us at (615) 582-3382

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