Don’t Hire a Residential Roofer Without Proper Insurance

Never, Ever, Ever Put Yourself at Risk by Hiring a Residential Roofer Without the Proper Insurance

A roofing contractor shows up at your home to give you a free roofing quote. The roofer seems like a nice enough guy and his roofing estimate is even nicer—hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, less than the roofing estimates you’ve received from other San Mateo County roofing companies. Stop! Before you sign a roofing contract or give a roofer a deposit, give serious thought about why this roofer’s bid is so unbelievably low.

So you flat out ask. Maybe the roofer admits that he can under bid other roofers because he doesn’t “spend a lot of money” on overhead costs like commercial general liability insurance. The roofer says he’s just got a few guys working for him so insurance isn’t necessary. Perhaps residential roofing is his side job to earn a little extra cash on top of his day job. His roofers do this work all the time. They’re roofing pros and nothing will go wrong.

Sounds logical enough, but what if something does go wrong? What if a roofer gets hurt on your property? Who’s liable? Without the roofer having proper licenses and insurance, it could very well be you.

Is your roofing company carrying Commercial General Liability Insurance that important? Absolutely. The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) does not require general or roofing contractors to carry commercial general liability insurance. That being said, the CSLB strongly encourages those hiring a roofing company to weigh the risk of hiring a roofer who has no insurance or is self-insured. Choosing an uninsured roofer puts your property, assets and thus the family’s financial security at risk if someone is hurt on the roofing job.

To protect homeowners unfamiliar with the law, California does require roofing contractors to give written notification stating no insurance or self-insured status along with a roofing estimate. This document must meet the State Board’s requirements for adequately disclosing the risks to the homeowner of hiring a roofing contractor without liability insurance.

When choosing a roofer, you should get at least three roofing estimates. If any of the roofing companies that provided quotes do not have liability insurance, did they follow the law and include the written notification of risk?

If not, why? Any type of insurance is designed to protect the insured assets, be they homes, cars, health, etc. Due to the nature of roofing, roofing contractors won’t be around very long with protecting their assets with liability insurance.

Any financially stable roofer in the business for the long run has assets to protect. Just like you do. Responsible roofers will carry liability insurance. Do you really want to trust your home, your roof and your financial security to a roofer with nothing to lose? For most homeowners, saving a few dollars on a roof isn’t worth putting their hard-earned financial assets at risk.

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