I bet you’ve seen roofers stating that they will waive your deductible, but did you know that they are committing fraud?
Everyone reading this has been to a doctor at some point in their lives and, before seeing the doctor, you have had to pay a “co-pay.”
Depending on your insurance policy you have, that can range in price, but it’s usually between $20 and $80. I can also bet that the doctor has never offered to “waive” your co-pay or give you an “advertising credit” that will go towards your co-pay. In fact, you have to pay it before ever seeing the doctor.
So What is an Insurance Deductible?
In many ways, this is how a deductible works on a roof claim. Your deductible depends on your insurance policy, but it is an amount that you, the homeowner, agreed to pay before the insurance company pays out on a claim. Your deductible was determined by you and your insurance agent when you were picking out property insurance policies.
Now let me explain to you why it is illegal for you to not pay it, and why many roofers are getting homeowners in trouble by offering to waive deductibles.
Why is it Illegal?
Missouri Senate Bill 101 prohibits exterior repair contractors, such as roofing and siding companies, from offering to pay a homeowner's insurance deductible in hopes of making a sale. It also forbids repair companies from negotiating with an insurance company on behalf of an insured homeowner.
Roofers have been breaking the law by helping homeowners avoid paying their deductibles. Roofers don’t always come out and tell you they are waiving your deductible. Often times, they will do things like offer “advertising credits” or give “refunds” that equal the amount of the deductible in an attempt to find a loophole to avoid breaking the law, but that is still illegal and insurance companies and law enforcement are privy to this. They ultimately break the law because the only way to do this is to create a false invoice to send to the insurance company.
Let’s look at an example:
Let’s say you have a roof claim for $20,000, as determined by the insurance company.
You have a deductible of $1,000.
This means the maximum the insurance company will pay out is $19,000 ($1,000 is paid by you to the roofing company). However, the insurance company will break the $19,000 up into two payments. I’ll elaborate on this more later.
You (the homeowner) gets a quote to do the roof for $19,000. Sounds great, right? You are probably thinking you don’t have to pay that $1,000 deductible. Well, this is not the case.
Let me explain. If your roofer sends in an invoice for $19,000 (which is the true cost of the roof), your insurance company is going to celebrate with joy because they are going to take the $1,000 deductible off of that and only pay $18,000. They will love you and your roofer for saving them money!
The other scenario, which is where fraud ends up being committed, is the roofer sends a false invoice of $20,000 which will result in the insurance company paying $19,000. The problem with this is falsifying an invoice is a felony and you have just made yourself party to insurance fraud.
I mentioned earlier that the insurance companies split the payments into two payments. The first payment is called the ACV payment (actual cash value). This is the amount the roof is worth at that time. The second payment is the RCV payment (replacement cost value) that is released after the work is completed. This is how insurance companies will catch people not paying their deductibles because they have now started to require proof that a deductible was paid before they release the RCV portion of the check. This means that, by trying to save $1,000, you just cost yourself a lot more than that. The worst part of this is, there are homeowners being implicated in these schemes and they are facing heavy fines and possible jail time right alongside their roofers. I know, this is an example of the extreme worst case, but let’s talk about ethics for a second.
Trust the Best, Storm Restorations of America
Your home is arguably your most expensive and most valuable asset you have. That being said, hiring people with the right ethics and values to work on your home really matters. If a roofer is willing to commit felony fraud and is willing to get you to knowingly (or unknowingly) be a participant in this, then what corners is he/she going to cut on your roof?
You’ve paid for your insurance so you should take advantage of your benefits in your time of need and get a high quality roof installed by the best in the industry. Call Storm Restorations of America today for a free estimate.