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New campaign fights roofing scams in Colorado

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DENVER -- The damaging hail that hit parts of south metro Denver on Monday afternoon is a harsh reminder that Colorado's peak weather catastrophe season has arrived.

A new campaign has launched to fight roofing fraud in Colorado. A group of nonprofit, government and business organizations is working together to educate and alert the public.

Colorado ranks second in the country in the number of insurance claims filed from hailstorm damage. So, there's plenty of opportunity for fraud.

There are many things consumers can do to guard against being the victim of a fraudulent roofing contractor. The following list of valuable tips is from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association:

  • Look for well-established, licensed, insured and bonded roofing professionals with a federal tax identification number and a permanent address.
  • Ask for a contractor's license number and confirm with your city or county building department that the license number was issued by them and is current.
  • Check to make sure the contractor is registered to conduct business in Colorado.
  • Ask to see the company's certificates of insurance. Verify with the insurer the certificate is valid, the contractor is endorsed for roofing work, and the contractor's coverage for liability and workers' compensation is current. CONSUMER TIP: Check the number of employees covered by the policy - a low number indicates the contractor will hire temporary help who may or may not have roofing experience.
  • Don't hire a contractor who knocks on your door following a storm. Most legitimate roofing contractors do not conduct business this way.
  • Contact the Colorado Roofing Association, which maintains a current list of licensed, properly insured, professional contractors who have committed to abiding by the CRA Code of Ethics, and have passed a nationally recognized exam that addresses roofing work on residential and/or commercial property.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to check for complaints filed against any company you are considering hiring.
  • Be sure to get more than one estimate.
  • Require references that specifically include other homes in your area, and check them.
  • Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier.
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until all the work is completed.
  • Don't be pushed into signing a contract right away. Never sign a contract with blanks or statements like "see insurance estimate, etc." - fraudulent contractors may enter unacceptable terms later.
  • Always ensure that before you sign a contract it includes all the requirements established in Colorado Senate Bill 38.
    • Scope of work and materials to be provided.
    • Cost for same based on damages known at the time the contract is entered into.
    • Approximate dates of service.
    • Roofing contractor's contact information.
    • Identification of contractor's surety and liability coverage insurer and their contact information.
    • Contractor's policy regarding cancellation of contract and refund of any deposit including a rescission clause allowing the property owner to rescind the contract for roofing services and obtain a full refund of any deposit within 72 hours after entering the contract.
    • A statement that if the property owner plans to pay for the roofing services through an insurance claim, the contractor cannot pay, waive or rebate the homeowner's insurance deductible in part or in whole.
    • A statement that the contractor shall hold in trust any payment from the property owner until the contractor has delivered roofing materials to the job site or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the property.

A statement that the property owner can rescind a contract for services, the payment for which will be made from the proceeds of a property insurance claim, within 72 hours after receiving notice from their insurer that the claim is denied in whole or in part.