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Property Damage Claim Adjusters Are Unqualified

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Fire Insurance Claims, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Advice, Insurance Claims Help, Insurance Dispute | Posted on 05-12-2010


property damageProperty damage claims that are a result of fire, windstorm, tornadoes, water, flooding, hurricanes, and even theft are tragic on there own. It’s worse when the insurance company sends an unqualified insurance adjuster to assess your damages.

In many situations the insurance adjuster who inspects a property damage claim is not, nor has ever been, a contractor. For this reason the policyholder is now faced with an insurance company estimate that is missing many property damage repair items, or the item prices are lower than those required to complete the actual repairs.

As a result, the insurance company’s estimate and the contractor’s estimate can be thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars apart. In reality, most insurance adjusters take classes to learn about insurance policies – and classes to lean about building materials… but have never been a roofer, carpenter, painter, or carpet installer. They have very little or absolutely no hands-on experience, no on-the-job experience, or any experience with the materials or procedures for the property damage claim they are estimating.

They lack the hands-on experience and knowledge of a person who has many years experience repairing or replacing such damages. It’s easy to see how disputes can arise from property damage insurance claims.

Property Damage Claim Scenario

Many policyholders run into situations that go something like this. The insurance company sends an adjuster to the property damage location. The adjuster seems to spend very little time inspecting the claim and determines the property damage to be $150,000. However, the policyholder has several bids from different contractors with estimates of repair for $250,000 and higher. Many times it seems the insurance company is trying to repair or clean damaged items and the contractors have provided pricing to replace them. It’s not long before a dispute between the cost of repairs begins and an agreement on the costs of property damage cannot be reached.

Property Damage Appraisal Clause

When such a dispute arises there is a clause in most insurance policies called Appraisal. The insurance appraisal clause is usually a new term to most policyholders. However, more and more policyholders find themselves disagreeing with their insurance company adjuster’s estimate of their property damage claims. Those who do; should educate themselves on the insurance appraisal clause, how to use it, when to use it, and why to use it. For many property damage claims the only available option to resolve a dispute is the clause buried in the “Conditions” or “What to do after a loss,” sections of their policy. It’s called The Appraisal Clause – also know as The Appraisal Provision.

Property Damage Appraisal By The Insurance Carrier

In most cases the insurance company invokes the insurance appraisal clause more often than policyholders do. Only because they have a better understanding of the terms and conditions of their property damage  policies. If your insurance company has invoked appraisal on your claim, or if they advised you that if you disagree you can invoke or demand an appraisal, you’re in the right place. Even if you’re just searching for information on what your options are if you disagree with them – you’re still in the right place. It may seem like a fancy clause that would take a law degree to understand. The simplest way to understand it is that it’s the insurance industries version of an arbitration. However, a property damage appraisal is not actually an arbitration, it’s just similar to one.

For a complete outline of the Insurance Appraisal Process and how to dispute a property damage insurance claims, visit here.

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

Insurance Claims Group, Inc.
Joe Brennan
Ph: 919-669-9111
Fx: 919-573-9595

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