Claim Appraiser Network
What is this network?
The network is a way to give access to our roster of known qualified claim appraisers in your area who don’t work for Steel Image.
This page provides a simplified way of explaining the appraisal process, signing you up for their service in a way that protects all parties, and automates all of the paperwork.
Who is Steel Image?
We are a repair contractor based out of the Indianapolis area. We provide commercial and residential restoration services with an emphasis on insurance-related damages. We also provide additional tools like this page for the rest of the claims restoration industry.
Our team includes licensed contractors, engineers, and public insurance adjusters.
What is an insurance claim appraisal?
An insurance claim appraisal allows you to remove an uncooperative insurance company from the conversation and bring in third parties to settle the cost to repair your property. We just have to send in a properly-worded written demand which is generated and signed by you when you sign up for the service.
In summary, you select an appraiser on the following pages (or let the system select one for you), the insurance company selects an appraiser, and the two appraisers agree on a third appraiser (called an umpire) to act as a tie-breaker if needed. This panel then begins investigating what happened at your property.
When two of the three agree on a price for all damages and repairs, your final claim total is set and payment is issued.
Most appraisals result in an insurance payout which is many times the cost of the service.
What does this cost?
Claim appraisers are required to charge hourly. Charges based upon outcome or increased payout from your insurer could be construed as incentive to award a favorable outcome for you, whereas some insurance policies require appraisers be unbiased.
As of 2021, the average price in our network is $225/hr, which is also fairly average across the nation. The number of hours needed largely depends on the size of the property, extent of the damage, and the cooperation of the other appraiser.
Upon conclusion, your appraiser will address all charges to you as the party contractually responsible for payment. Any offer from another party to pay for your claim’s appraisal is strictly between you and that party.
What happens when I sign up?
By signing up through the provided Docusign link, our system will generate copies of all documents you need to hire an appraiser and begin the process, then emails you and your appraiser copies.
You will have several options for adding your desired appraiser to the paperwork. You can select an appraiser from a list, you can type in the info of a specific appraiser you have in mind, or you can have the system select one for you.
This appraiser will handle nearly all of the insurance interactions until a settlement is reached.
Can insurance refuse?
Yes, and no.
Appraisal of your “amount of loss” is a right in nearly all property insurance policies. An insurer can’t deny you this right without risking legal exposure and possible fines from the state.
However, they can (and often do) refuse to cooperate. Most often, they will try to limit the meaning of “amount of loss” as meaning only price of the items they agree were damaged. Obviously, determining the amount that you lost requires someone determine both what was damaged by your claim event and the cost to repair or replace that property.
All appraisers in our network know how to handle these situations and can provide resources or accounts of how others have overcome these obstacles in the past.
Do I need to know or do anything else?
Your involvement is most often limited to a couple of initial confirmations when insurance calls or emails. They need only know that you initiated the appraisal and you prefer email or text communication. If you are receiving objections from your insurer (common), just reach out to your appraiser for response suggestions.
We suggest deferring to email because insurers occasionally ask prying questions and make false objections in an attempt to justify not cooperating. After all, appraisal removes their power and hands it to unbiased third parties. Their only hope is avoiding it altogether.
The most common example of feigned objection is intentionally misinterpreting the requirement to “pay your own appraiser” as meaning your contractor can’t pay the bill for you. That stipulation was intended just to clarify that you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your appraiser is paid, and specifically that the insurer will not pay your appraiser’s bill.
While such objections may be unfounded, they can still make the process more difficult. It’s easiest just to avoid such traps by not answering their questions, or by confirming you understand you are responsible for your appraiser’s hiring and payment.
Are there any disclaimers?
In summary, assume that any other party who has offered to pay for your claim’s appraisal will only do so if they are the beneficiary of the resulting insurance funds. Most appraisers can split their bill between time spent pursuing items of your interest versus items of another paying party’s interest.
You, the property owner, are always the entity that hires an appraiser and are always responsible for ensuring the bill gets paid if another party who offered to pay backs out.
Ready to get started?
We Compile All Loss Info
New claim total awarded
Insurance Issues Payment
Helpful Appraisal Facts
- Appraisal is meant to be a last resort to avoid court or giving up on your claim. If you’re holding a bill and insurance won’t pay it, its time for appraisal.
- It is not a legal proceeding. The rules are written into one paragraph in your policy.
- Occasionally, an insurer will not cooperate and a court may be needed to force them.
- Every insurer treats appraisal differently. Some cooperate, and some don’t.
- The insurer’s appraiser holds half the power, often making for mixed results.
- The process regularly takes 1-3 months and is typically put on hold during the winter months.
- Only the property owner can hire an insurance loss appraiser. Your contractor cannot.
- Awards are final. Once awarded, there are no ongoing negotiations.
- Insurers typically do not hire unbiased, cooperative appraisers. That would be too easy.
- The insurer will often try to refuse, ignore, or talk you out of appraisal with scare tactics.
- Payment for the awarded amount is not guaranteed. Some awarded items may not be insured.