The holiday celebrations of December and January are traditionally accompanied by winter storms that bring wind and rain, and this year has been no different. When a home is exposed to the harsh effects of a winter storm, high winds can cause devastating damage to the roof of the structure. Because many scammers are aware of this post-storm reality, policyholders need to be cautious to avoid hucksters prepared to rip off homeowners.
While there are a range of insurance roofing scams used to exploit homeowners, many such scams have a familiar design. The so-called “roofer” will contact the homeowner and indicate that he or she can act as the homeowner’s insurance adjuster to guide the homeowner through the claims process. The scammer typically will make extravagant promises to entice the policyholder to allow the scammer to handle the claim. The policyholder also usually will ask the insurer to sign paperwork assigning all insurance rights to the business or individual performing the work.
After the homeowner has assigned these rights, the scammer will perform the work but cut corners and generally provide substandard repairs. The low quality of the repairs will permit the scammer to perform the work for far less than the cost of adequate workmanship and materials. While the actual work done will be cheap and low quality, the scammer will submit invoices to the insurer indicating inflated costs that would be associated from undertaking the repairs in accordance with established industry standards.
The scammer also will engage in other practices designed to rip off the homeowner and insurance company. For example, the insurer might indicate that he will get the insurer to cover other repairs unrelated to the roof by submitting misleading bills with misnamed services to hide the fact they are unrelated to roof repairs. These scammers often swoop into an area immediately following a severe storm and disappear just as quickly.
When the policyholder seeks to have the scammer stand behind his or her shoddy work, the unethical rip off artist can no longer be located. This means that the policyholder is stuck when attempting to pursue corrective work under the warranty provided by the scammer. The insurance company also might struggle to recoup amounts paid for misleading or fraudulent billings.
These practices are both unethical and illegal, so homeowners should carefully research the roofing contractor with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If the contractor contacts you after the storm, this should raise a red flag. It also is advisable to confirm the contract address for the contractor to ensure that you can locate the contractor if problems with the materials or workmanship arise. There also is no genuine benefit to hire a contractor to deal with your insurance company. The contractor’s interest might be directly adverse to a policyholder. If you are struggling with your insurance company, you should hire an insurance attorney or public adjuster whose duty is to represent your interests.
If you have questions about Florida insurance claims, you are welcome to contact one of our Miami insurance claims attorneys. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.