Texas Government Cracks Down on Fraudulent Roofers in Texas
According to the Payment of Insurance Deductible bill, H.B. 2102: “It is a violation of Texas law for a person or business paid wholly or partly from proceeds of a property insurance claim to knowingly allow the policyholder to fail to pay, or assist the policyholder’s failure to pay, the applicable deductible.” As of September 1, 2019, a Texas law made this practice illegal. Under this law, violators can get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Why Texas Consumers Are Vulnerable
Often to our dismay, we are prone to frequent hailstorms and high winds here in South Central Texas. Unfortunately, these often cause serious damage to homeowners’ roofs over large geographical areas. Following severe weather events, fraudulent roofing contractors seem to come out of the woodwork to solicit unsuspecting policyholders at their doors. The, they will promise free roof repairs or replacement and inform homeowners that their deductible will be waived or absorbed.
Then, fraudulent roofers will cut corners by using low quality products and/or inflate the costs sent to your insurance company to pay for the difference. This practice always means fake contracts, shoddy repairs, and worse headaches for homeowners than the ones the storm caused.
In addition, consumers will fail to pay their deductibles and unknowingly commit insurance fraud. This scam not only harms policyholders, but also honest roofing companies that can’t compete with an offer of free roofing services. While this dishonest practice has been illegal in Texas for decades, a preceding law was too vague to effectively enforce.
Stopping Fraudulent Roofers in Their Tracks
However, now roofing scammers can be prosecuted to the full extent of this new, more specific law. Although this means that homeowners will always have to pay out-of-pocket for their deductibles, they don’t run the risk of being duped by empty offers. According to Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan, “This new law will help further protect consumers. Roofers who waive deductibles are cutting corners. Take your business elsewhere.”
By far, the most important thing to remember regarding roofing services is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At Titan Roofing, we’ve seen a disheartening number of homeowners contact us after falling victim to this scam.
Things a Trustworthy Roofing Contractor Will Never Promise
- Reimbursement for deductible
- Free roof work
- Deductible payment assistance
- Masking deductible as something else (an illegal practice you could get severely penalized for)
- Offering to “take the deductible off your hands”
Tips to Avoid Contractor Fraud
Fortunately, there are easy ways to ensure that a roofing company isn’t trying to pull the wool over your eyes. These include:
- Getting a detailed, written estimate with clear contact information on company letterhead
- Seeking more than one bid to determine if an offer is too good to be true
- Asking for multiple references with phone numbers
- Being wary of out-of-town references
- Rejecting door-to-door solicitations
- Not paying in full up front
- Refusing to make a final payment until the work is done
- Never signing a contract with blanks on it