What You Should Know Before an Insurance Claim Engineer Inspection
Is your insurance company sending an engineer to inspect your claim?
The insurer could be doing their due diligence. The insurer could be verifying the source of the damage for your insurance claim, for example. Or, your insurer could use the engineer’s report to deny your insurance claim. The engineer may find some damage was pre-existing, for example, which could reduce your payout.
Here are six things you need to know before an engineer inspects your insurance claim.
1) Insurers Hire Engineers to Verify Aspects of Your Claim
If you have a costly insurance claim, then your insurer could be required to pay a large amount of money.
Understandably, your insurer may want to hire an engineer to verify your claim and complete due diligence.
An engineer will analyze your claim, inspect the damage, and produce a report detailing the findings.
At this point, you have two possible outcomes:
- The engineer verifies the damage occurred from a covered loss, and your insurer agrees to repair the damage to pre-loss condition based on the terms of your insurance policy.
- The engineer finds certain damage was pre-existing or caused by a non-covered peril (like flood damage), causing your insurer to deny your claim or reduce your payout
In some cases, the truth is somewhere in between. Unfortunately, when the truth is somewhere in between, the engineer often sides with your insurance company.
2) Engineers May Be Tempted to Side with Your Insurer
In a perfect world, all engineers are 100% reputable and honest. The engineer produces a report revealing the truth about your claim, and you move forward with your life.
Unfortunately, engineers have been caught falsifying reports in favor of insurance companies who pay their fees.
Engineers may publish erroneous reports or falsify information to deny legitimate claims, for example. The engineer or engineering firm knows it gets more work from the insurer if they rule in favor of the insurer – and against the policyholder.
If an engineering firm consistently finds the damage was caused by a covered peril and the insurer is required to pay 100% of the payout, for example, then the insurer may not work with that engineering firm in the future. It’s costing the insurer a lot of money.
This bias is bad news for policyholders like you. A single engineer report could cause your insurer to deny a legitimate claim or reduce payout. There are many ways to level the playing field though. You can reach out to a public adjuster or hire your own engineer to be present when the insurer’s engineer is there. This would significantly reduce the misinformation in their reports if it was a biased one.
3) Insurers Don’t Always Share the Engineer Report With You
Sometimes, the insurer lets you see the engineer’s report on your insurance claim, especially if it is in your favor. In other cases, the insurance company only releases the report upon request.
If you request the engineer’s report, then you may need to wait four to six weeks to receive the report.
If an insurer has sent an engineer to your property to inspect damages, then request a copy of the report as soon as it’s available.
In many cases, policyholders assume a claim is going smoothly – only to find it was denied or reduced because of findings in the engineer’s report.
4) The Engineer’s Report Could Find Damage Not Covered by Your Policy
An engineer’s report could significantly reduce the payout you receive for an insurance claim.
If the engineer’s report finds some damage occurred because of flood damage instead of windstorm damage, for example, then you could receive significantly less from your insurer. A standard insurance policy covers windstorm damage but not flood damage.
Or, the engineer’s report could find some damage was pre-existing or caused by lack of maintenance. If your roof had broken shingles from a previous storm, for example, then those broken shingles may have allowed rain to enter your house and cause damage, reducing your insurance payout.
This is why engineer’s reports can get messy. Although engineer’s reports are technical documents, there may be gray areas. A covered peril (like a tornado) may have caused significant damage to your home, but you may have experienced less damage if you had a newer roof. In this situation, an engineer’s report could reduce your payout because of lack of maintenance or general wear and tear.
5) Engineer’s Reports Are Intimidating (And They’re Supposed to Be)
Do you have an engineering degree? Most people do not.
That’s why engineer’s reports can be intimidating. They’re filled with technical jargon, complicated terms, and math you may not understand.
It’s okay to be intimidated by an engineer’s report. In fact, engineer’s reports are supposed to be intimidating.
How are you going to dispute a professional, licensed engineer’s findings? How can you, an ordinary person, dispute a complex technical document when you don’t understand half of the document?
Insurers may use this report as leverage. They might know you won’t fully understand the report and the things it contains, and they use that to their advantage. It allows them to negotiate from a position of strength.
Fortunately, you can fight back. You can hire a public adjuster who can help you understand the engineer’s report and dispute the findings.
6) You Can Hire a Public Adjuster to Represent Your Interests and Dispute the Engineer’s Report
Your insurance company hired an engineer to represent their best interests. Fortunately, you can hire a public adjuster to represent your best interests.
Public adjusters are licensed insurance industry professionals with a proven reputation for securing higher claims payouts for clients. Some have decades of insurance industry experience. Many, in fact, used to work for insurance companies before switching to represent the public.
A good public adjuster can represent your best interests. They can pore over the engineer’s report, identify any errors, or challenge certain misconceptions. They know the loopholes insurers use to deny claims, and they can fight back to secure a higher payout.
In summary, a good public adjuster can:
- Analyze the engineer’s report
- Challenge errors or claims in the engineer’s report based
- Use their professional insurance industry experience and technical expertise to analyze your claim
- Negotiate with the insurer on your behalf
- Ensure clients receive every penny owed to them from any insurance claim
Public adjusters also work on contingency, which means they don’t get paid until you accept the insurer’s final settlement. For that reason, you typically hire insurers for claims totalling over $10,000.
Final Word: Insurers Are For-Profit Businesses Who Want to Limit Payout
Your insurer’s goal is typically to reduce your payout as much as legally possible. The insurer wants to pay you the lowest amount for your insurance claim they’re legally able to.
To do that, some insurers use an engineer’s report. An engineer’s report could find some damage was pre-existing, caused by wear and tear, or caused by an uncovered event, for example. A single engineer’s report could reduce your claim or deny it entirely. It could also lead to the non-renewal of your current policy if the home is found to be in disrepair.
Consider hiring a public adjuster to represent your best interests. Public adjusters know how to read engineer’s reports, dispute findings, and fight with your insurer to make sure you receive maximum compensation.