June 28--EATON -- From 1st to 5th streets along Cheyenne Avenue, no less than a dozen different roofing companies display their signs in the yards of this north Weld County community.
According to residents, it didn't take long for the companies to show up in droves after one of the worst storms in Colorado history.
"They were driving by and knocking on our doors while we were still cleaning up our yards," seven-year Eaton resident Rebecca Fourier said. "People would just come by and ask if they could put a sign in my yard."
The storm, which dropped golf ball-sized hail by the inches in some areas and cue ball-sized hail in others, left most of the town in need of roof repairs. Vehicle repairs also are common, and most residents lost plenty of newly planted spring flowers.
According to Carole Walker with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, two consecutive days of stormy weather in early June that spanned from the south Denver-metro area to northern Colorado and the Eastern Plains were the fourth-most costly in state history. Nearly 70,000 auto and property claims totaling $321 million have been filed.
Walker and Angela Thorpe, a media specialist for State Farm, were unable to estimate how much of that is specific to northern Colorado, but a drive through Eaton speaks volumes about how many people were affected.
Between Eaton and Ault on Weld County Road 33, Jane Canaday's property is in need of $87,000 in repairs. From the outbuildings to her house, however, Canaday will wait until hail season is finished for the fix.
In addition to a new metal roof on a barn, six or seven windows need replaced on the structure built in 1910. A sliding glass door and the stucco on her home also are damaged from the worst storm she's seen since moving to the property in 1996.
"We've never had this big of hail," Canaday said. "This was just a freak storm."
And with it came dozens of roofing contractors, some reputable, some not so much.
Gretchen Simpson, whose husband Jim Simpson and Troy Jennings co-own Affordable Roofing in Fort Collins, said storm-chasers are common when big storms hit.
"When something like this happens, it's like people are climbing all over them, and they are suffocating them," Simpson said. "They need to know they don't have to sign a contract today."
Fourier said one man offered her $1,000 -- the amount equal to her deductible -- to put his sign in her yard.
However, a new law that took effect June 6 prohibits roofing contractors from such practice. It also requires them to show identification, insurance and scope of work. And homeowners may rescind their contract within 72 hours.
"Storm-chasers will put up temporary P.O. boxes and tell you they're local," Simpson said. Simpson recommended residents investigate all roofing contractors. She said homeowners should not sign up with the "door knockers" simply because they have a great offer.
"Roofers are a dime a dozen," she said. "A lot of roofers leave and leave their leaks with them. Then the homeowner has to call the local people to come fix it and pay for it again."
Fourier went with a hometown man who graduated from Eaton High School, and listened to her gut, she said.
"I just tried to remember everything I've heard in the past about scams," she said. "And I talked to my neighbor, and we put our heads together. He had good products, liability insurance, all his paperwork was in place."
(c)2012 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.)
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