In California, a public appraiser can only work with insurance claims related to damage to personal or business property. A public appraiser cannot process claims for car accidents, life insurance, and other types of insurance. A public appraiser will process your claim and contact your insurance company on your behalf. Some people think that the additional expense of hiring a public appraiser is worth it, if only for the peace of mind that they won't have to manage the claims process themselves.
In addition, the public appraiser will carefully review your claim and ensure that no damage is overlooked. Depending on what they find, you may be able to get a larger insurance agreement to repair the identified damage. A public appraiser can take some guesswork out of the process, but this convenience comes with an out-of-pocket cost. Bankrate breaks down what a public appraiser is so you can determine if it would be beneficial to hire this outside professional.
Your insurance company will send its own appraiser, but you can also hire a public insurance appraiser to assess the loss of property on your behalf and help you file insurance claims. It's also possible for an insurance company to refuse to negotiate with a public appraiser or to refuse to pay the desired settlement. Like a claims appraiser, a public appraiser will assess the damage to your property, help determine the extent of the repairs, and estimate the replacement value of those repairs. Policyholders should be sure that they are claiming the right amount, and hiring a public appraiser is the best way to do that.
If the public appraiser is questioning the damage or how much it might cost to repair it, you may decide to use a contractor for a second opinion. Many public appraisers visit the site of a loss for free to determine if they will work with the policyholder on a case. Public appraiser fees are usually a percentage of the amount that the insurance company pays for the policyholder's claim. The other way to find a public insurance adjuster is to get a recommendation from friends or family.
If you are faced with a major claim with a potentially high payment, consider the price before choosing to hire a public appraiser. A public appraiser can help reopen a claim with the insurer and file a supplementary claim for additional payments. The NAPIA directory lists all public appraisal firms that must have a license in their state of operation. Instead of using the insurance company's adjuster, some policyholders choose to hire a public appraiser.
You'll have to pay a fee to hire one of these licensed professionals, but a public appraiser can save you a lot of money by ensuring that your insurance company pays the full amount you're responsible for, depending on your coverage.