When you file an insurance claim, you have the right to hire a qualified attorney or public appraiser to help you document your losses, file your claim, and negotiate an insurance settlement. The insurance company often relies on and strongly defends what your appraiser found during the initial inspection, so it is important to record the inspection of your home. This creates an unbiased and transparent account of what happened during the inspection. However, many insurance companies will object and refuse to continue with the inspection if you try to openly register your appraiser.
Generally speaking, if you hire a public appraiser, you agree to pay them a percentage of what you recover on your behalf, not an hourly rate. An independent appraiser (IA) works for the insurance company on a contract basis, a personnel appraiser is an employee of the insurance company, and a public appraiser (PA) works strictly for the policyholder. A public appraiser may charge a service fee of 10% to 15% of the amount of your claim once your case has been resolved. When you decide to file an insurance claim, you'll need to work with an insurance adjuster from your homeowners insurance company.
If you can't or don't want to hire a public appraiser, consider talking to a customer service representative from your insurer. If your insurance adjuster doesn't allow it or you resist paying for the test, seek professional help right away. The state insurance commissioner will recommend the next course of action and you can contact your insurance provider to request a solution. If you plan to file a claim for a small loss, such as a series of broken windows, you may not be able to hire a public appraiser.
In the event of a partial loss, if the insured decides to repair or replace the property, the insurer should not deduct the depreciation. When filing an insurance claim, it is important to understand all of your options and rights when it comes to hiring a public appraiser or other professional help. Knowing what documentation is necessary and how much it will cost can help ensure that you get the best possible outcome from your claim.