The recent hail storm that damaged thousands of homes and vehicles in the Colorado Springs area has once again attracted an onslaught of "storm chasers" – unscrupulous contractors going door-to-door to try to get victims to let them repair their roofs or other hail damage.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says Colorado was second only to Texas in the number of hail damage insurance claims from 2013 to 2015 (Hail Claims).
NICB warns that the thousands of homeowner damage claims and millions of dollars that are being paid out by their insurance companies have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of contractors claiming to be "licensed" and going door-to-door, without being invited, to solicit business. All too frequently, victims will allow them to go up on their roofs to inspect for damage, without knowing if the company has a valid license or has proper business insurance. Homeowners may find themselves liable if someone is injured on the roof without proper workers compensation or business insurance.
In some cases, the contractors will take the victim's money, make limited repairs or no repairs at all, and disappear – leaving the property owner victimized a second time.
Working with a coalition of insurance industry, consumer, contractor industry and government groups, NICB is urging consumers to know their rights under legislation passed in the state in 2014 to protect them from high pressure tactics. Those include the right to know the following:
- Scope of work and materials to be provided.
- Cost for same based on damages known at the time the contract is entered into.
- Approximate dates of service.
- Roofing contractor's contact information.
- Identification of contractor's surety and liability coverage insurer and their contact information.
- Contractor's policy regarding cancellation of contract and refund of any deposit including a rescission clause allowing the property owner to rescind the contract for roofing services and obtain a full refund of any deposit within 72 hours after entering the contract.
- A statement that if the property owner plans to pay for the roofing services through an insurance claim, the contractor cannot pay, waive or rebate the homeowner's insurance deductible in part or in whole.
- A statement that the contractor shall hold in trust any payment from the property owner until the contractor has delivered roofing materials to the job site or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the property.