The adjuster's findings determine the compensation you will receive. You don't need to be present during this investigation, but it might be a good idea to attend to make sure that the appraiser doesn't overlook any damaged areas of your home. Many people will be surprised to learn that having your claim reviewed by an appraiser is just the beginning of the insurance claims process. Remember that the field appraiser who inspected your property may not be an employee of the insurance company.
They are usually independent contract appraisers and are usually paid a fixed fee or percentage for each claim they handle. This is especially true during disaster situations, such as Hurricane Irma, when there are so many claims to be adjusted, there is a shortage of qualified appraisers, and they have difficulty processing as many claims as possible. When they go to inspect your property, ask them what company they work for and look at the detail with which they record the damage and if they are “listening” to you. Your insurance company will send its own appraiser, but you can also hire a public insurance adjuster to assess the loss of property on your behalf and help you file insurance claims.
Many public adjusters formerly worked as insurance adjusters for insurance companies, before going on their own to represent policyholders. While many experienced adjusters are highly trained, the barriers to qualifying as adjusters are minimal. The appraiser's goal is to analyze property damage, determine a repair budget, and then pay you the amount legally required for your insurance claim, based on your insurance policy. Even if your insurance company wants to inspect your car to assess the damage or walk around the yard to inspect your home's siding damaged by a hail storm, an appraiser or insurance company employee needs your permission, Simeone says.
Depending on the seriousness and complication of the claim, the policyholder may want to look for a more experienced public appraiser. After major hurricanes and other catastrophic events, insurance companies often hire independent appraisers to help them manage the high volume of homeowner claims. If you don't know anyone who can recommend an appraiser you've personally worked with, ask your potential appraiser for the contact information of some of their past clients. Public insurance adjusters must be licensed in each state in which they practice their profession and, like other professionals, are required to participate in continuing education courses to maintain their license.
It's also possible for an insurance company to refuse to negotiate with a public appraiser or to refuse to pay for the desired settlement. Some public adjustment firms send one appraiser to make an estimate and another to track and thoroughly analyze a claim. When insurance companies need to quickly hire large numbers of appraisers, it's not uncommon to hear about situations where appraisers conduct their first inspections after catastrophic storms. If you want to buy or renew a homeowners insurance policy, or need to file a home or car insurance claim, you may receive a personal visit from your insurance company in the future.