Protect yourself: Storm damage you may not even know you have

Hoosiers do not have to live in Kokomo, Lebanon or Lafayette to be at risk of paying big bucks related to this week’s storms.

In fact, roofers throughout central Indiana say they have been swamped with calls since at least 26 tornadoes touched down Sunday, with many of those calls coming from areas affected by straight-line winds alone.

“You don’t have to worry so much if you lose a shingle or a tab, that’s why we have the felt paper underneath,” said Doug Farber, owner of Daahl Roofing in Zionsville.  “But you definitely want to get it replaced.”

Without having an entire roof blown off, which was the case for several people in the hardest-hit areas, residents may not realize they have roof damage until the winter weather hits, when it’s too late.

Farber recommends taking a few minutes this weekend to do a visual inspection of your roof by walking around the entire house on the ground, keeping an eye out for missing shingles or nail pops, which are usually marked by a shingle that starts to arch up.

Residents can also look for leaks from the inside, but, Farber said, by then it’s usually a bit late.

“One thing I recommend to a lot of my customers [is] as you’re walking through your house, look up.  Look at your ceilings.  Look for brown spots,” Farber said.  “If you see a brown spot, you know there’s water coming in. So we’ve got to find that leak and we’ve got to take care of it before it gets worse.”

Several organizations, including the Better Business Bureau and Indiana’s Attorney General’s Office, released warnings this week about contractors dubbed “storm chasers,” which they described as coming from out of the state and not necessarily having the accountability or legitimacy of a local company.

The Better Business Bureau recommends you take some simple steps to protect yourself, including:

1. Ask for proof of licensing and bonding;
2. Get several quotes and insist payments be made to the company, rather than an individual;
3. Do not pay in advance;
4. Check out the company’s rating on the BBB website; and
5. Pay be credit card, if possible, to protect yourself if there’s a problem with the quality of the work.