How to Dispute an Engineer’s Report on Your Insurance Claim
Your insurer may hire an engineer to create a report for your insurance claim.
In many cases, this engineer report gives justification for the insurance company to reduce or deny your claim. When the insurance company lets you know that an engineer will be inspecting your property, it is often best to call a Public Adjuster or even your own engineer to be present and handle the inspection together.
It may seem impossible to dispute an engineer’s report. After all, it’s a professional, technical document produced by a licensed engineer.
However, engineer’s reports often contain mistakes. In fact, many engineer reports are specifically written in favor of the insurance company and against the policyholder.
Today, we’re explaining how to deal with an engineer’s report – and potentially dispute that report.
Why Your Insurer Ordered An Engineer Inspection
Your insurer may order an engineer inspection to verify your insurance claim
Ideally, during an engineer inspection, a licensed engineer checks the damage, verifies the damage occurred because of a covered peril, and writes a report for your insurer explaining that information. Then, you get paid.
However, engineers may also find issues with your claim. They might attribute damage to non-covered perils – like wear and tear or improper maintenance.
Some engineer’s reports even invent information or exaggerate pre-existing damage, allowing the insurer to deny or reduce your claim. This would also document any and all damages at your property that are not a result of the covered peril, thereby making some items never covered under any claim unless you repair them. It is always best to have a Public Adjuster or a Building Consultant to inspect your property before the meeting is planned. They can point out items that might need to be repaired or replaced before the meeting that have nothing to do with the claim.
Because the engineer report is a professional document, it may seem difficult to dispute it. However, homeowners can and do dispute engineer reports every day.
The Problems with Engineer Reports
Some engineers are biased. They may be motivated to produce a report to reduce your insurer’s payout.
An engineer that frequently finds pre-existing damage to reduce a claim, for example, could expect more business from an insurance company in the future.
Or, an engineer that frequently sides with the homeowner and increases the insurer’s payout may not be hired in the future. Why would an insurer hire an engineer or engineering firm that frequently costs the insurer money?
For that reason, there’s automatic bias built into many engineer reports for insurance claims. This bias could impact the outcome of your claim.
It’s also possible for engineers to make honest mistakes or be incompetent. They may not be qualified to analyze your type of claim, for example, but their professional report makes the engineer look inscrutable.
Some of the problems with engineer reports for insurance claims include:
- Bias: Engineers may be tempted to rule in favor of your insurance company. Your insurance company hires engineers, and engineers with a reputation for siding with insurance companies could expect more business.
Erroneous Information: Many engineer reports contain erroneous information. This information is completely incorrect, but it ends up in the report regardless, and it can significantly impact your future insurance claim.
- Exaggerated Facts or Misrepresented Information: Some engineer reports contain exaggerated facts or misrepresented information to help support the insurance company’s case. They might claim most windstorm damage was caused by pre-existing damage to the roof, for example, instead of the storm itself, which would significantly lower compensation.
- They Can Lead to Reduced or Denied Claims: The biggest problem with engineer reports for insurance claims is that they lead to reduced or denied claims. Insurers can use engineer reports to limit compensation or deny your claim entirely. In fact, insurers deny thousands of claims every year because of the findings of engineer reports.
How to Challenge an Engineer Report for an Insurance Claim
Engineer reports may seem intimidating. However, they’re supposed to seem intimidating. They’re meant to look like authoritative documents you cannot challenge.
Most people don’t have an engineering degree. So how can you challenge something you don’t understand? How do you negotiate with your insurance company when you’re not sure what half the report means?
In this situation, it’s best to hire the professionals, including a public adjuster or attorney.
Recommended Method: Hire a Public Adjuster or Insurance Attorney
The best way to challenge an engineer’s report is to hire a public adjuster. Public adjusters fight for higher compensation while representing your side – not your insurers.
Public adjusters can help challenge an engineer report by:
- Reviewing all details of your claim from start to finish
- Organizing information to maximize your potential compensation
- Hiring an engineer, contractor, or other professional for an independent assessment
- Negotiating with your insurer on your behalf
- Identifying the tactics used by insurers and engineers to erroneously overturn insurance claims
- Obtaining a payout that could be 200% to 300% higher than the initial offer
Many public adjusters used to work for insurance companies. Some have a background in engineering. Many know the tricks insurers use to deny or reduce claims.
Plus, public adjusters work on contingency, which means you don’t pay until the final settlement. Once you accept the final settlement from your insurance company, you pay the public adjuster’s previously disclosed rate (typically 10% to 15% of the final settlement).
Other Ways to Challenge an Engineer Report
The best way to challenge an engineer’s report is to hire an expert – especially if you’re dealing with a costly insurance claim (say, over $10,000).
However, other ways to challenge an engineer report include:
- Hire your own contractor or engineer to conduct an independent assessment, then approach your insurer with the report.
- Organize more evidence of the incident, including photos, weather reports, eyewitness testimonials, videos, receipts for damaged items, contractor estimates, and more, to justify your insurance claim.
- Avoid accepting the initial offer from your insurance company.
Final Word: Hire a Public Adjuster to Challenge Your Insurance Claim Engineer Report
Don’t be intimidated by an engineer’s report from your insurance company. Instead, hire a public adjuster to dispute the report.
Engineers can and do make mistakes. Or, engineers could be biased in favor of your insurer and tempted to find problems that do not exist – or exaggerate minor problems that had little impact on your claim.
For all of these reasons and more, it may be in your best interest to hire a public adjuster if you’ve had a problem with an engineer’s report on your insurance claim.