Beware of out-of-town roofing contractors. Do not be fooled by companies that claim to be "nationwide" providers. These types of outfits go from hail storm to hail storm often leaving homeowners holding the bag. Make sure before you contract with any roofer that they are a full-time roofer (year round) and an established company with long roots in San Angelo and the Concho Valley. Unfortunately, you as homeowners will need to verify this information on your own. Do not rely on a salesman to be truthful about the origin of himself or his company. Also, make sure you share this information with friends, neighbors, fellow church members, and most importantly our senior citizens. All you have to do is visit the Better Business Bureau of San Angelo, log on to the Internet and see if the company has an office (or not), demand a two page reference sheet, call several references, call a local roofing supply house and ask about the company's history, or look at the license plates on their trucks.
Never give a roofer a down payment or "draw" to purchase materials. If the contractor cannot finance the job 100% on his own, he has no business working on your home. All payments to the contractor should be made upon completion of the work.
Will my insurance company cancel or raise my premium payments if I turn in a roof claim? No, insurance companies may not punish a homeowner for Acts of God/Mother Nature. Homeowners do not have the option of moving their home out of the path of a hail storm, tornado, or hurricane. Insurance premiums in the State of Texas are regulated by the State Board of Insurance in Austin, Texas. Insurance premiums fluctuate regularly. So, even if you do not turn in a claim your premiums may go up anyway.
How do I know if I have hail damage? Hail damaged shingles cannot be identified from the ground. However, here are some indicators that insurance adjusters and roofing contractors use to help determine if an area has damaged roofs: inspect cedar fences for impact marks, check wind turbines, power turbines, other roof vents for dents, automobile wind shields, hoods, roofs, trunk lids, and the loss of tree branches and leaves. If you have any of these issues you may have sustained hail damage. However, adjusters and roofers must inspect the shingles on the roof to know for sure how much damage is present. In order to qualify for a total loss/roof replacement, the roof must show the following: the protective granuals must be knocked off the shingle exposing the fiberglass mat. The mat will show a bruise and be soft to the touch and may even be torn or ripped from the hail stone impact. If your roof has multiple "impact marks" on 2-3 slopes (north, south, east, west) your insurance company should pay to have it replaced. Why? The fiberglass mat is not supposed to be in direct contact with UV rays/ Sunlight. If the mat is exposed for long periods of time a leak will occur.
Are you buying or selling a home? If so, please remember that licensed home inspectors are not qualified to assess hail damage on roof tops. I have witnessed many instances where a buyer or seller has had to shell out thousands of dollars out of their own pockets because an inspector made a mistake. The solution is simply to hire a good roofer to give you a detailed inspection of the roof.
- Tell the out of town STORM CHASERS to "hit the road"
- Make payment terms upon completion of the job and look out for others
- Do not be afraid to turn in a legitimate hail claim to your insurance company and know your homeowner's bill of rights.
- Learn how to spot hail damage indicators
- Demand professionalism and quality work from your contractor. YOU DESERVE IT!!!