You may not even be aware that you have hail damage from the Phoenix hail storm last October. Hail damage is often not associated with a leak therefore often goes undetected. If you were in the hail zone (see map) then you should have your roof inspected. The roof types most vulnerable to hail damage: Shingles, Foam and Clay Tile.
If you find out that you DO have hail damage, below are some guidelines to help you avoid being ripped off in the process of getting your roof repaired:
- Be patient and calm. Most home owners after a monsoon or hail storm are desperate to find a contractor. Being desperate leaves you open to being preyed upon by "drifter contractors" who claim to be local. Most hail damage does not pose an immediate threat of a leak. If it was not leaking before the hail, it is not likely to leak after. Take your time to find the right contractor.
- Be patient and calm (worth repeating). The magnitude of the storm impacted a large number of homes, all requiring roofing services at the same time. Any good contractor will have long waits for both estimates and long waits for roof replacement production. Please be patient, remember hail damage is not generally a threat of a leak. A good contractor- a well placed roof- is worth the wait.
- Get bids only from contractors you want to use. When you submit proposals to insurance adjusters from contractors that are “like kind” both in type of company as well as price, your insurance company is more likely to come to an agreement on price. Including a low bid proposal to your insurance company will set the bar low on what they are willing to pay. Exercise your right to choose the type of contractor you would like to work on your home.
- Be wary of cash back offers. Be sure that cash back does not equal insurance fraud.
Tips to assure your contractor is here to stay
Look for out-of-state tags on their trucks. This could indicate that the contractor is only in town for storm work and may not have systems in place to back up your warranty or remedy workmanship errors. Ask to view their driver’s license.
- Ask your contractor to provide documentation and make sure they all match.
- Contractor’s License and date of issuance.
- Certificate of Insurance (workman’s compensation and general liability)
- Arizona Department of Revenue ID
- Check to make sure that your contractor carries adequate and current insurance. Roofing is dangerous work. Ask for current certificates of workman's compensation and liability insurance. Again make sure they match the name on the license
- Check the license and the insurance (worth repeating). In most cases, unlicensed roofers do not have workers compensation insurance, liability insurance or are bonded. They do not pay city, state or federal taxes. They do not secure permits when required. When the roofer is unlicensed, the homeowner considered the employer. You can be personally liable for employment taxes. If an accident or injury occurs you could be held liable for medical costs. You could also be exposed to future lawsuits.
- Do your own research. See when they set up shop. Check the BBB and the Registrar of Contractors, see when they joined. Longevity of a contractor is always a good indication as to whether they will remain local or even remain in business and able to back up your warranties.
- Get job references. No contractor is going to give you a list of bad references. The key is to get several references and make sure that you get some of the references on projects that were done prior to the October 2010 hail storm.
- Know who the project management is. Most “Storm Chasers” are nothing more than a fleet of salesmen with no field management personnel. It is nearly impossible to have a new roof installed correctly without proper supervision and management. Know who the superintendent is on your roofing project.
- Prefer the local roofing specialists. In a storm situation, it is always best to buy from an established local roofing contractor as they will be around to service their work afterwards. Arizona has state licensing requirements; you will be able to check these online.
- Allow yourself a good night’s sleep. Avoid buyer’s remorse - choose your contractor wisely.