If Someone Offers You A “Free Roof,”
That’s Insurance Fraud
“Helping You Out With The Deductible” Is Illegal
There are some unscrupulous roofing companies who will tell you they can get you a “free roof” using an insurance claim.
These contractors are sometimes based here in Houston, and others are of the ‘fly-by-night’ variety that blow into town when they see an opportunity.
Sometimes they are just hoping to find something they can pass off as storm damage.
But even if the claim itself is legitimate (your roof did suffer storm damage and it’s not just old), it’s NOT LEGAL to help you get around paying your deductible.
The only way to avoid paying it is to show one invoice to the insurance company and create another one for the homeowner. Creating an invoice to show the insurance company that is different from the invoice used to charge the homeowner is by definition fraud. (And once the fraudulent invoice is sent to your insurance company via fax or email, it becomes wire fraud).
Here’s the worst part of all: Once you become a party to the fraud, you are as responsible as the perpetrator of it.
Which means all of a sudden that “free roof” comes with a steep cost: the possibility of being charged with insurance fraud and wire fraud.
Another Important Question To Ask Yourself
If you’re at all tempted to do business with a roofing company telling you “they’ll work with you on the deductible” or get you a “free roof,” there’s one very important question you need to ask yourself:
If the contractor is willing to lie to the insurance company in order to get a job, what makes you think they won’t lie to you?
The Stakes On This Have Been Raised Recently
The problem with “free roof” scams has become a big enough problem that it recently got attention from state lawmakers.
A new law passed in 2019 makes it unmistakably clear that it is illegal for any roofing company to waive an insurance deductible.
The law was motivated by the behavior of some roofing companies after big storms. Many contractors – including some very unscrupulous ones – left homeowners with shoddy repairs. Some even went so far as to use “take the money and run” fake contracts.
And one of the biggest problems of all?
Offering to waive or absorb the deductible.
The law, which was effective as of September 1, 2019, says that it is illegal for roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
The Texas Department of Insurance now has a special fraud unit to combat these problems, but homeowners still need to protect themselves.
Here’s the good news among all the bad news about fraud and scam-based roofing contractors. You do have other choices. There are legitimate roofing companies that act with integrity and will advocate for your interests when you file a roofing insurance claim.
That’s Houston Roofing & Construction. We’re roof insurance claims experts, and we do things the right way – period.
Contact Houston Roofing & Construction if you think your roof has suffered damage from hail, wind, or other storm damage.