Insurance companies pay independent appraisers to adjust the claim on their behalf, while “public appraisers” work exclusively for the insurance policy holder. Public appraisers can work on their own or as part of a larger public appraisal company. A common fee for public appraisers is 10% of the final amount of the settlement of the claim. Unlike independent appraisers who routinely handle claims, public appraisers must request or sell their services.
Becoming a public appraiser requires a license, but it also presents some additional challenges to get started. You must pay a bond, pass a strict background check, and may be required to complete an apprenticeship period of up to one year. Some public appraisers accept jobs that are outside their area and then find it difficult to process those requests. The easiest way to check if someone is a licensed public appraiser is to visit the website of your state's Department of Insurance.
They will also show you how to present the proof to the insurance company so that the insurance company has very few, if any, refutations. A policyholder obtains the services of a public appraiser in a similar way to how one would hire the services of a lawyer. Once you've hired an adjuster, don't talk to the insurance company without the adjuster present. However, in most states, such as California, you have the right to hire a public appraiser to act in your best interest.
When you file a claim for an event covered under your homeowners or business owners insurance policy, your insurer will assign an appraiser to handle the claim. Chances are, as a regular consumer, you've only claimed your insurance once or twice during your adult life, while obviously insurance companies do it all day long. A certified and licensed public appraiser is an expert in insurance claims and will defend you during or even after the claim process. And unless you have the time, experience, and knowledge to negotiate with an insurance adjuster and deal with contractors, your claim could quickly turn into a nightmare.
Policyholders who are informed or have an acute sense that something is not quite right will begin to investigate and discover that a public appraiser can work on their behalf during the claims process. An experienced, reputable, and licensed public appraiser can help you overcome the challenges of managing your property insurance claim. Because of the nature of the two positions, independent and public experts are often placed in conflicting positions at the negotiating table. However, if you have a large or complex insurance claim, it's a good idea to go to a public appraiser who has experience handling similar claims.