While licensing continues to be an issue of contention, a new state law in Texas prohibits roofing contractors from waiving an insurance deductible.

The Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) endorsed the Texas State Legislature’s decision in August to put a stop to the widespread practice — which has been linked to fraudulent activity.

“The new state law cracks down on roof scams,” the RCAT website states, noting countless homeowners were hurt by opportunistic, yet unethical contractors.

After a major storm, contractors — including some scam artists — are quick to arrive on the scene. This leads to shoddy repairs, fake contracts, and other problems. The Texas Department of Insurance created a special fraud unit that meets with local officials after a disaster and explains steps they can take to protect residents from contractor scams.

One selling point bad contractors often use is offering to waive or absorb the homeowner’s deductible. The contractor then cuts corners, uses lower-quality products, or inflates the bill sent to the insurance company to cover the difference.

In addition to roofing contractors and developers, the insurance industry helped push the legislation through.

“This new law will help further protect consumers,” said Texas Insurance Commissioner Kent Sullivan. “Roofers who waive deductibles are cutting corners. Take your business elsewhere.”

It is illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for all or part of a deductible. Under the new law effective Sept. 1, violators could get up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office also established a Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508 to report any roofing contractors that offer to waive a deductible.