Contrary to what the name suggests, the insurance company hires independent appraisers to evaluate claims. They work on behalf of the insurer and are paid by it. Many or all of the products shown here are from our partners who compensate us. This can influence the products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page.
However, this does not influence our evaluations. This is a list of our partners and this is how we make money. Anyone whose home is damaged in a disaster will appreciate having home insurance. However, filing a claim can be an exhausting experience, with hours of painstaking paperwork, and if you make any omissions, you could receive a lower payment. That's where public insurance adjusters can help.
A public appraiser is an insurance expert that you can hire to handle your claim for you. While insurance company appraisers represent the interests of the insurer, public insurance adjusters represent you. Their job is to give you every dollar you're entitled to. A public appraiser will inspect and assess the damage to your home and determine what coverage you are eligible for under your policy. They'll also calculate the cost of repairing the damage and document what you've lost.
An adjuster will contact the insurance company on your behalf to negotiate a settlement. Public appraisers generally work on large, complex claims. For example, recovering after a hurricane can be especially difficult because it often involves filing claims under different policies. If the wind tore off your roof as the floods went up, you would file a home insurance or windstorm claim, in addition to a flood insurance claim. A public appraiser can help you find the answers and get the most out of every available policy. Enlisting the help of a public appraiser isn't the right choice for every claim.
Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- They may be able to get you a bigger deal. The main advantage of hiring a public appraiser is having an experienced professional who negotiates to obtain the most generous claim payment possible.
- They can help you document everything you've lost and detect potential damages that the insurance company's adjuster might have overlooked.
- Filing a major insurance claim requires a lot of time and energy, between filling out forms and communicating with the insurer. If you already have a demanding full-time job, are busy taking care of children, or just don't want to deal with the hassles, hiring a public appraiser may be worth it.
- They can guide you through the claim process. Insurance policies are full of legal jargon and essential details, which can be difficult for the average person to understand.
- An experienced public appraiser can help you better understand your coverage and how the claims process works.
- They can help you challenge an agreement.
If you initially filed your own claim and are not satisfied with your insurer's settlement offer, you can hire a public appraiser to review the case and negotiate a higher payment.
A public appraiser cannot get you more money from the insurance company than you are entitled to receive under the policy. Your rate will reduce your payment. Public appraisers typically charge between 5% and 20% of the total settlement. However, in some cases, you'll pay a fixed or hourly rate. Some states limit rates and they may be negotiable, but one way or another, you'll have to pay for the adjuster's time and experience. Not available in all states.
There are certain parts of the U. S. UU. Where Public Appraisers Can't Help With Home Insurance Claims.
For example, public appraisers in Kansas can only work on commercial claims, while public appraisers are not authorized at all in Arkansas. You can find appraisers in your area through the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Check if the adjuster is licensed in your state. Many state insurance departments, which regulate public insurance adjusters, allow you to check licenses online. Keep in mind that certain states, such as Alaska and Alabama, do not grant licenses to public appraisers. Ask for references and mark at least three if possible.
Read the contract and understand the rates before hiring the adjuster. Stay away from anyone who comes to your door unsolicited, demands a down payment, or pressures you to sign a contract. An accredited public appraiser understands the insurance industry, is licensed in your state and can help you manage the claims process. However, some people pose as public appraisers after a disaster to get part of the payment of their claim for themselves. Avoid these scams by checking references and confirming your public appraiser's license on your state's insurance department's website.
Most public appraisers take a percentage of the settlement of their claim, which can range from 5% to 20%. Others charge a fixed or hourly rate. Make sure you fully understand the fee structure before signing a contract with a public appraiser. You may want to hire a public appraiser if your claim is large and complex, or if you don't have time to complete all the documentation on your own. You may also want a public appraiser to help you negotiate if you're not satisfied with your insurance company's initial settlement offer.
Property and accident insurance services offered through NerdWallet Insurance Services, Inc. OK9203 Property & Accident Licenses. Often, public appraisers are members of their professional organization, which requires certain standards of aptitude. Insurance agencies generally understand the desire to hire an additional lawyer and respond in a professional manner when hiring a public appraiser.
For many, hiring a public appraiser means that they have someone to think and negotiate on their behalf.