Bridging the Gap between the Adjuster and the Insured

Monday, September 28, 2015Eric Huzzy

I am often asked “what is the difference between a repair estimate and a consulting estimate?” Repair estimates are written for the property owner whereas consulting estimates are written for insurance carriers.

When I write a consulting estimate, I need to follow the guidelines of the insurance carrier. It is important to be honest with the client about delivering an estimate that I could, in turn, need to perform.

I generally find that by the time a repair estimate is negotiated and settled, it is very similar to a consulting estimate. When I write repair estimates I tend to include everything I would like to charge for in an “ideal situation” with no carrier restrictions. These estimates are then received by an adjuster and modified to fit the criteria of the insurance carrier.

With respect to repair estimates, insurance companies will typically send someone to the property to inspect the damage, and make sure it is in accordance of company policies and state laws. This must occur to allow replacement under the property owner’s policy of insurance.

With sufficient documentation of the damage, most insurance adjusters will come up with the scope and price to pay for the work and will then authorize payment. Insurance adjusters work on behalf of the homeowner’s insurance company and are responsible for preparing an estimate of the cost of repair or replacement of the insured’s property loss.

However, some adjusters are not familiar with what the actual damage is, and may under pay or deny a claim out of inexperience. For example, following a major loss event like an earthquake or wildfire, adjusters may not have the required expertise. This problem is exacerbated by the need to bring outside adjusters into the affected area to inspect the number of claims. It is our job, as an experienced remediation contractor, who are familiar with insurance protocol, to make adjusters aware of actual damage they may not see, and inform them of current replacement costs. Most of the time, adjusters are reasonable and appreciative of our assistance in pointing out these differences. 

About the Author

Eric Huzzy
Senior Consultant/Estimator

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