‘Storm chasers’ moving into area after July 4 hail storm
HELENA, Mont. — Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen is warning Havre and Hi-Line area residents to be aware of “storm chasers,” or out-of-the area roofing contractors who solicit repair work from homeowners, sometimes doing second-rate work or committing insurance fraud.
Lindeen’s office is hearing reports of storm chasers moving into the area in the wake of a July 4 hail storm that battered a swathe from Cut Bank to Havre with high winds and golf-ball to tennis-ball sized hail stones.
“Residents need to be on the lookout and know the signs of a potential scammer when hiring a crew to repair their damage,” Lindeen said. “Most out-of -area repair crews are legitimate businesspeople, but we know from reports coming into our office that not every crew currently seeking work in the Havre area is playing by the rules.”
Montanans should be aware of seemingly legitimate work crews who:
- Come door to door and try to get you to sign something immediately.
- Use high pressure sales tactics.
- Make offers of a free roof or siding — or offer a way around paying your insurance deductible. This is insurance fraud.
- Have out-of-state tags on their vehicles or have out-of-state driver’s licenses. You can and should ask to see a driver’s license to verify identity.
- Are unable to produce recent, local references or references from before the storm.
- Are unable to produce a local supplier reference. Always check the references from a potential contractor’s suppliers because if a supplier isn’t paid in a timely fashion by a contractor, they can legally place a lien on your home.
- Are unable to produce a contractor’s license.
- Ask to submit your insurance claim for you. Never allow a contractor to submit your insurance claim for you because your insurance company can only accept a claim from you – the customer.