This past Saturday was a warm day, shorts and t-shirt weather for most of the day. The weather report called for a cool front to move in that afternoon and evening. It did and the collision of the cool front with the warm air moving up from the Gulf set off a chain of thunderstorms and up to 9 reported tornadoes that ranged from Waxahachie, through Garland, Rowlett, and past Lake Lavon in Collin County. The extent of damage wasn’t known until Sunday.
11 people were killed and at least 23 were injured in the tornadoes that struck north Texas. Over 200 homes were damaged or destroyed in Red Oak. 600 buildings, including apartment buildings, were damaged, and 446 homes were damaged or destroyed in Rowlett. The loss is staggering, especially if you were one of the many people impacted by the storms.
I’ve called all of my clients in the affected areas and was excited that while several suffered damage to their homes, everyone was ok. Once the storm has passed, the next step is to begin the process of determining the damage, filing claims, and repairing the damage or rebuilding. It’s also a time to be on the lookout for people who take advantage of others after a storm! With that in mind, here’s what I encourage my clients to consider when looking for a contractor or roofer to repair the damage the tornadoes caused.
- Is the roofer or contractor 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 and contractors 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.
- 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, Yelp, or other clients. Will they be around in six months or a year if you need a something corrected or any other potential follow up item?
- Ask for references? 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 or contractor is promising free upgrades on shingle, tile quality, or something else, then get the offer in writing.
- Builder’s Risk insurance: If your home suffered extensive damage or is considered a total loss, you’re dealing with a much longer timeframe and a more extensive project than having a roof replaced. Either you or your builder should obtain a builder’s risk policy which will protect your home as it’s being repaired or rebuilt.
Get multiple bids from different companies and compare them closely. Ask your realtor for suggestions too. Many of the realtors I know have relationships with a broad number of people to help with a variety of home repairs. Don’t pay anyone all the money up front. There are too many examples of people who’ve done that and never heard back from the roofer or contractor, and insurance companies don’t pay claims twice!
What’s been your experience? Share your comments, questions and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!