House & Home

Spring hail damage brings out fly-by-night contractors

Ask for recommendations and do your research when hiring roofers or other contractors who approach you about repairing hail damage.
Ask for recommendations and do your research when hiring roofers or other contractors who approach you about repairing hail damage. The Associated Press

Kansas and Missouri face a high risk of hail this time of year. About 70 percent of all claims in Kansas and 57 percent of claims in Missouri between March and June each year are for hail damage.

And right behind those storms, as if pulled along on the tail winds, come fly-by-night contractors looking to make a quick buck. They often go door-to-door offering repairs at low prices and a promise to pay deductibles. When they leave the area, homeowners are often stuck with faulty or unfinished work with no recourse.

Below are tips from Farmers Insurance to ensure that you hire a professional, reputable contractor:

▪ Ask for a recommendation and do your research. Find out how long a contractor has been in business. Is the contractor established in your area, is the contractor an established business, and can the contractor provide references? Ask questions, investigate and always do as much research as you think is helpful.

▪ Watch out for door-to-door solicitors. While roofers in Kansas are required to be licensed, roofers in Missouri are not. Depending where you live, make sure to verify the license and/or the bonding and insurance of the contractor and company, especially if he or she approaches you, and you did not initiate the contact.

▪ Understand what you’re signing. Do not sign documents that are not completely filled out, and avoid unauthorized additions to documentation at a later date.

▪ If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Seek professional reviews and check with several businesses before deciding on a contractor.

▪ Obtain multiple estimates. If a bidding contractor asks what your insurance company is paying, you may want to avoid discussing the amount or sharing financial information.

▪ Be mindful of upfront payment. Avoid paying large percentages for a job upfront or making upfront payments altogether. An advance payment should never cover more than the cost of materials.

▪ Don’t pay in cash. Choosing another method of payment may provide options for recourse if a contractor fails to complete the job or start the job altogether. Always investigate and research a contractor, review documentation carefully and check referrals before making any type of payment.

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