One of my clients in Frisco, Texas sent me an email last weekend. Her family’s home is located in a neighborhood that was struck by hail, some of it measuring between baseball and softball size. A flurry of roofers showed up in their neighborhood and began knocking on doors to solicit business and my client wanted to know if she should file a hail claim.
Hail storms are almost an annual rite in north Texas. Anytime hail occurs, clients call me asking whether or not they should file a hail claim, usually after a roofer has knocked on their door because they see hail damage from the street. Texas law prevents me from encouraging or discouraging a client from filing a claim for hail damage, or anything else. I do advise them of three things; damage from a hail storm is covered by their home insurance policy, what their wind/hail deductible is, and to get a professional opinion from a local roofer.
Many of the roofers that sweep through Texas after a hail storm come from other states. I’m sure most of them are capable and don’t come here to scam people. I always recommend my clients go with someone local based on two conversations I’ve had with Larry Nix of Nix Group and Sue Garinger of Scott Exteriors. Here are their suggestions on picking a local roofer:
- Is the roofer / repair company insured? They should be able to provide proof of their insurance (ask for a copy of their declaration page) for liability coverage. This coverage will protect you in the event a repair inadvertently damages another part of your home (someone falls through a roof, etc.). If you’re dealing with a general contractor, make sure their subs are insured too.
- Are they local? It’s very common after large storms for roofing companies to come from out of state looking for overflow work. Deal with someone local (get their office address) just in case you need to get them back out to fix or redo something. A 10 year warranty doesn’t help if the roofing company is located out of state.
- How long have they been in business? Ask this question and then verify it with one of the trade groups, their insurance agent, the Better Business Bureau or other clients. Will they be around in six months or a year if you need a shingle replaced or a gutter re-tacked or any other potential follow up item?
- Ask for reference? If you can look at 2 or 3 past examples of their work do so and then talk with the homeowner. You’ll find out a lot just by doing this!
- Beware of promises of freebies. If the roofer is promising a higher grade of shingle for the same price, free roof vents, upgraded gutters, etc. get the offer in writing. If it sounds too good to be true then definitely get it in writing.
Larry & Sue’s advice also works well with any contractor and a lot of other businesses too! If you need help finding a roofer in your area, ask your realtor. Most realtors I know have relationships with a broad number of people to help with a variety of home repairs. The roofers that knock on your door may be excellent, but check them out first. Too many people have been taken advantage by unscrupulous people who took the money and ran. If after having two roofing companies look at your roof and confirm there is hail damage and it warrants a hail claim then file one. The good roofing companies that are based here know whether or not you have enough damage to warrant a hail claim.
What’s been your experience? Share your comments, questions and experiences with us in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook or Google + pages. Have a question? I’d love to hear from you!