Living in Wisconsin is great. The vast expanses of natural landscape, the friendly people, the beautiful seasons… but the storms are no joke. As soon as we’re all done with the snowstorms and blizzards, it’s on to tornadoes and wind and monsoon rains.
We’re betting that you already know how to prepare for an incoming storm, so we’re going to be discussing what happens next, and one of the most important things is:
Learn To Spot A Storm-Chaser
Storm chasers tend to show up right away, so it’s best to know how to spot them on sight. But what is a storm chaser? The simplest way to put it: They’re snake-oil salesmen. That is, they show up making big promises, and then they never deliver on them. They present themselves as repairmen and contractors and roofers who can patch that roof up for you “at absolutely no cost to you!” because “your insurer pays for the whole thing!”
The first tell-tale sign of a storm-chaser: They come to you. They tend to go door-to-door in storm-damaged neighborhoods like old-fashioned vacuum cleaner salespeople. If they’re not knocking on your door, they’re cold-calling you. Any reputable roofing contractor is going to have very little time on their hands following a storm; they’re not going to have the interest, or the resources, to go out looking for new customers, their phones are already ringing off the hook.
Another clear sign: Storm chasers are eager to get up on your roof before the insurance appraiser does because that will allow them to exaggerate or flat-out lie about the damages, or even create some damages themselves. In one case here in Wisconsin, a storm chaser came down from a woman’s roof with a bunch of photos of damaged shingles… taken on a completely different roof.
A firm no will usually be enough to get rid of these guys, but they can be pretty persistent. If they don’t get the hint, a door being slammed in their face should send them on their way.
What Should You Do First?
Managing the aftermath of a storm is pretty simple if we break it down into steps:
- Read your policy and know what’s covered
- Prevent further damage where possible
- Call your insurance agent and get the damages appraised
- Research your contractors
- Call someone to get the damages repaired
And that’s really all there is to it. Looking at the broken windows and shredded roofing following a storm, it’s disheartening; it feels like the whole world is collapsing. But most likely, the damages will be covered by your insurance, they probably won’t take too long to repair, and you’ll be able to get on with your life in no time.
Just be sure to keep a cool head. Storm chasers prey on the desperate, that’s why they only come out after a storm. If they were asking to patch up a leaky faucet, nobody would give them the time of day, but when you’re anxious and stressed over a storm, you’re in a more vulnerable state. So keep calm, know that the damages are easy enough to manage, and make an informed decision when hiring a contractor.