Hail falls and/or severe winds whip through a section of town and ten minutes later the streets are lined with pickup trucks and contractors start going door-to-door to offer a free inspection to check for damage. Sound/look familiar?
Here are some things of which you should be aware if you are a homeowner in one of these areas:
Most municipalities will require some sort of permit to conduct door-to-door sales. Unless it’s Girl Scouts selling cookies, make sure anyone who approaches you in this way has filed the proper forms with your city to legally make solicitations in this manner.
Some contractors will employ professional ‘canvassers’ to make this initial contact. The person who comes to your door may not be qualified to do an inspection or answer your questions.
Large, well-publicized storms can bring out the worst-of-the-worst ‘storm chasing’ companies who come to town for only a short time, do a bunch of shoddy work and then breeze out of town again once the insurance claims have dried up. They won’t be around when you almost inevitably have a problem with their poorly installed product.
I won’t say ‘don’t sign anything’ during one of these visits, but pretty much assume that the document you are signing is going to lock you in with that contractor and that they are going to be the ones doing your work, so make sure they are the one you want to go with before you sign. Anyone who tells you that the document they want you to sign isn’t a contract to do the work and/or that it ‘just lets us talk to your insurance company’ is probably lying to you.
With that being said and while this seems like an annoying nuisance at best, here are some reasons why a few door-knockers may actually might be a good thing:
Generally the average homeowner has little idea how hail and wind might affect their roof and even less of an idea how their homeowners insurance policy may cover them with regard to this peril. Many people may need some education in these areas.
There are time limits for filing a claim and completing the work. Your roof might not start leaking immediately after being affected by hail but if you wait until it does, it might be too late. Having some contractors approach you may help you to take the necessary action in a timely manner.
It will provide you with a chance to meet different contractors and hear what each has to say. This can help you make an informed decision on who you feel most comfortable working with.
While the damage to each home should be considered individually, the fact is, the more homes in your neighborhood that are getting approved for roof replacement, the more likely yours will be approved as well.