LETTER: Avoid storm-chasing contractors

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The Spencer County community was hit by a large and destructive hailstorm on Friday, March 2. After such an event it can be difficult to separate the legitimate local contractors from the out of state storm chasers. Here are some steps that you can take to avoid accepting offers from roof contractors that may not be up to standards nor supportive of local workers and our local economy.
• Look for out of state tags on their trucks. Out of state tags indicate that the contractor is only in town for the storm work and won’t be here to satisfy any warranty work or service after the sale.
• Know that roofing contractor’s liability insurance is expensive. This can lead some contractors to cut corners to avoid the expense. Make sure that your contractor can provide you with a certificate of insurance. Insurance companies will not give a certificate of insurance to the contractor. The contractor or you must contact their insurance agent and request a certificate of insurance with you listed as the certificate holder. This will prove not only that the contractor has proper insurance beyond a shadow of a doubt, but you will also be notified if that insurance is dropped.
• Make sure that all materials are paid for. If a contractor uses materials on your home and fails to pay for them, the supplier has no choice but to come to the homeowner to pay for those materials. If this occurs, you may have to pay for the materials twice, or undergo costly and time-consuming legal efforts.
• Prefer the local contractors. They will be around to service their work afterward and they will keep the money in the local economy.
• Be patient and take your time making the decision. The hail damage that we experienced is not likely causing immediate leaks. If leaking is an issue, a temporary fix can be done in the interim to avoid further damage and your insurance company can pay for this temporary repair. It may take longer for the local contractor to get to your project, but the results will likely be much more in your favor in the long run.
• Storm chasing is a multi-million dollar industry. Several of them travel with their own contract adjusters. Just because a contractor shows up to your home with the adjuster does not mean that you have to use that contractor. Again, be patient and take some time to do your own research.
Graham Knight

Editor’s note: Graham Knight is a local business owner.