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I feel so dumb in hindsight. A roofing company approached me in my neighborhood while I was out walking my dog. They said that they had been called by one of my neighbors to give an estimate on roof repairs, and asked if I'd like a free roof inspection. They showed me their bond and insurance information upon request, and between the detailed vehicles, uniforms, and official-looking marketing materials I was convinced that they were at least a legitimate company. I (dumbly) agreed to the inspection, they performed the inspection, and then they told me that my roof had significant hail damage. They said that it was highly likely that my insurance would completely cover a full roof replacement. They asked for permission to contact my insurance company in order to get an estimate. I asked to clarify that under no circumstances would I be responsible for paying any money out of pocket, and they said yes. If the insurance wouldn't cover the full amount, I wouldn't be liable for anything. We'd "shake hands and part ways as friends."

I (dumbly) signed the document "allowing them to contact my insurance to see if they'd approve the repairs" without reading it thoroughly. Upon closer inspection and some research I've determined it to be an AOB contract, which seem to be generally frowned upon and in some cases are an outright scam.

They filed a claim with my insurance, who inspected my roof and then completed their estimate and mailed me a check within 24 hours. When I received the estimate and check, I realized that I (dumbly) didn't consider my deductible. The document I signed does indeed state that I am responsible for the deductible, so I will be paying $2600 out of pocket if this goes forward. The AOB also states that if the claim is approved (which it was) and I do not use the company, I will be required to pay them $1000 or also be responsible for their legal fees if/when they sue me for said $1000. At this point I don't even have an estimate from the company to know what they would charge, just a check written to myself and my mortgage lender for $5600. The instructions from my insurance are to pay that to the company whenever they request payment, then pay them my deductible when the work is completed, and after the work is completed I can apply for up to an additional $2000 in replacement cost benefits.

The company in question is about nine years old according to the LLC filing. They have very positive Google reviews, but only dating back four months. They have an A+ on BBB with a 4.33/5 score from six reviews and two complaints, both made and closed within the past four months. Had I looked them up before signing the document, I don't think I would have done business with them. After doing some research I've seen numerous articles detailing how disreputable companies do this "scam," resulting in shoddy work and increased insurance premiums.

My questions are:

  1. Is there any way to "undo" the insurance claim? I now understand this to be incorrect, but I assumed that the company was going to simply ask if my insurance would cover the roof replacement, not actually get them to send me money immediately. I don't even know if my roof really needs to be repaired or replaced. The company showed me some pictures of the damaged shingles, and I assume the adjuster wouldn't approve the claim without merit, but up until a week ago I wasn't even aware that my roof had hail damage.

  2. How binding is the document I signed? I know I should have read it thoroughly first (and really never signed document from a door-to-door salesman at all), but I feel that I was deliberately misled. For one, I will be paying a substantial sum out of pocket for the work, and second, we won't be "parting ways as friends" since they seemingly get money from me no matter what. I also find it hard to believe that they would sue over $1000 (and that they'd actually get it), but I'm not a lawyer.

It may be relevant that the document bears my name, contact information, name of my insurance company, and signature. It does not have a date nor my insurance policy number. They told me that they know the adjuster from my insurance and that this person could directly look me up without needing my policy number.

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    If you signed an AOB the roofing company should be paid by the insurance company directly so they typically wouldn't give you any estimate. All negotiations would happen between them and the insurance company.
    – jesse_b
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 10:49
  • As an aside it does sound like you have been sort of bamboozled but if the insurance adjuster agreed there is damage, there likely is real damage to your roof. However if $5600 is the total cost of the repair they are likely only replacing a few damaged shingles and not the entire roof. If your roof is over 15 years old I personally would not pay for anything less than a full replacement, if you can afford it.
    – jesse_b
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 10:54
  • My insurance estimated the cost of the repair to be about $10000, which includes the initial $5600, my deductible, and the RCB. My insurance agent (not the adjuster) agreed with you that there is likely real damage to the roof, but they wouldn't recommend the company who solicited me. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 14:15
  • The document I signed may not technically be an AOB (thank goodness) since my insurance is communicating with me directly like you pointed out. However my insurance agent is uncertain as to whether or not the "or pay us $1000" clause is legally binding or not. They said that it is unethical at least because they didn't point it out to me when they asked me to sign, and that the promise of a "free" roof was bogus. They told me that this is a known "scam," even if not illegal. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 14:17
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    A long way away, I know, but here in the United Kingdom, roofing scams are quite common. usually the homeowner is approached at their door or in the street. The negative outcome for the owner can be work badly done, not done at all, not needed in the first place, over priced, etc. Also other outside work like tarmac or gravel driveways. Commented Mar 4, 2023 at 14:23

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