A new state law makes it clear that it’s illegal for a contractor or roofer to waive an insurance deductible.“This new law will help further protect consumers,” said Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan. “Roofers who waive deductibles are cutting corners. Take your business elsewhere.”After a major storm, contractors – including some scam artists – are quick to arrive on the scene. This leads to shoddy repairs, fake contracts, and other problems. The Texas Department of Insurance created a special fraud unit that meets with local officials after a disaster and explains steps they can take to protect residents from contractor scams.One selling point bad contractors often use is offering to waive or absorb the homeowner’s deductible. The contractor then cuts corners, uses lower quality products, or inflates the bill sent to the insurance company to cover the difference.
It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective September 1, violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
If a contractor offers to waive a deductible, report it to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508.
Tips to avoid contractor fraud
- Get written estimates on company letterhead with clear contact information.
- Get more than one bid to gauge which ones are too high or too good to be true.
- Check references and phone numbers.
- Beware of those who only have out-of-town references or solicit door to door.
- Don’t pay in full up front and don’t make a final payment until the job is done.
- Never sign a contract with blanks on it.