A public appraiser is an independent insurance professional that a policyholder can hire to help resolve an insurance claim on their behalf. A public appraiser is an insurance professional hired directly by a policyholder. They have the same skills and training as other claims adjusters, but they are not loyal to insurance companies. If insurance companies don't use a staff adjuster, they're likely to use an independent adjuster.
But don't be fooled by that title. Independent appraisers are simply contractors hired by the insurance company and who work for the insurance company. Policyholders should be aware that they are claiming the right amount and hiring a public appraiser can help guarantee this. Public appraisers are licensed insurance professionals who work on your behalf (not for the insurance company) to manage the entire insurance claim process from start to finish, ensuring that you get the maximum amount of money you are entitled to.
With a licensed public adjuster on your side, you have an advocate who works to get your claim resolved quickly and you can get back to life and business sooner. Public appraisers can file and negotiate claims for damage caused by floods, fires, smoke, wind and hurricanes, as well as for damage due to other hazards. In addition, public insurance appraisers evaluate the loss of property on behalf of the policyholder and help the policyholder file insurance claims in exchange for a fee. Verify that the public appraiser is a member of your state's trade association, which will have codes of ethics.
Generally, a public adjuster will charge a percentage of what the policyholder's insurance company ultimately pays for a claim. Public insurance appraisers are the only property loss professionals who work on behalf of policyholders. Public appraisers can help you read your policy for you, explain it in simple terms, organize the process, and document your losses and needs. A public adjuster can help them reopen a claim and file a supplemental claim for additional payments with their insurer.
Public appraisers can charge between 5% and 20% of their final settlement, depending on the amount of work involved and the complexity of the claim. However, if no one you know can make a recommendation, ask the public appraiser in question for contact information for some of your previous customers. Many public appraisers don't charge a fee to visit the site of the loss and determine if they will work with the policyholder on a case. According to the report, those who used public appraisers for non-catastrophic claims received settlements that were 584% higher.