If you need to make an insurance claim you’re likely going to come up against all manner of industry jargon. Knowing the simple truth of what these seemingly complex phrases and words can mean is essential, however, if you’re going to make a successful claim. One of the most common points of confusion is knowing the difference between a loss assessor and loss adjuster. Many people use the terms thinking they mean the same thing – but they don’t.
Knowing the difference between loss adjusters and assessors is highly important if you have a building insurance policy.
The simplest way of understanding the difference
The easiest way of looking at the difference between a loss adjuster and loss assessor is by looking at who they work for. A loss adjuster will be retained by your insurance company, and they work with your insurance company’s interests in mind. A loss assessor is retained by you, the policy holder, and they will be working with your interests in mind.
What is a loss adjuster, and what do they do?
A loss adjuster is a specialist in analysing claims who is appointed by your insurance company in the instance that you make a claim. Insurance companies are loathe to pay out on insurance policies if they can, particularly if large amounts of potentially expensive building damage is involved. This is where the loss adjuster comes in.
The loss adjuster will examine your claim and determine the cause of the damage, as well as analyse the extent of it. In certain circumstances, your insurance company may even hire the services of other investigators, such as private or forensic, in the interest of building up an understanding of what went on to cause the damage in your claim. Once the loss adjuster has determined the cause of the damage, and documented the extent of it, they will compile and present a report to your insurance company.
In that report, the loss adjuster will lay out whether or not they think you have a valid claim. If they think you have no claim at all, your insurance company will not pay out. If they think you do have a claim, but not to the extent at which you have claimed for, you may not be paid out to the maximum possible amount of your insurance agreement.
Remember that a loss adjuster works for your insurance company, and will do what they can to find an appropriate caveat which means the insurance company can reasonably deny your claim.
What is a loss assessor, and what do they do?
You can think of a loss assessor as the opposite of a loss adjuster – while a loss adjuster works for the insurance company to determine reasons they shouldn’t pay your claim, a loss assessor works for you to determine the reasons that they should. A loss assessor will also assess the situation leading up to the damage that you are claiming for, as well as give a detailed breakdown of the reasonable costs incurred. They will then present this to your insurance company as a reason to pay your claim.
A loss assessor can do a lot more than that, however, they can also help you with other aspects of your claim, such as securing interim payments for example. They can meet with the loss adjusters appointed by your insurance company to present the ways in which your claim is valid. This should give you the best possible chance of being successful.
Your loss assessor will have some experience in how most insurance companies’ claims departments work, which will give them understanding in the ways that insurance companies often deny claims. Knowing the common pitfalls of unsuccessful claims will allow them to help you make sure you don’t fall into the same traps when you make your claim.
When should you think about appointing a loss assessor?
The simple answer is – as soon as possible!
It’s never too early to appoint a loss assessor to work on your behalf, indeed the earlier you get a professional working on your behalf involved the better your chances are of making a successful claim. If you make any mistakes in the claiming process, your insurance company might not honour the claim. To avoid this, you should retain the services of a professional and accredited loss assessor as soon as you know that you’re going to make a claim to your insurance company – get them involved as early as possible.
That said, it’s never too late to appoint a loss assessor. Even if your claim is already underway, or even in certain circumstances if your claim has been denied, a loss assessor can help you to mount an appeal. Your insurance company might not inform you of the services of a loss assessor, so it’s important to know that you’re well within your rights to retain one – indeed you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t. Appointing one as early as possible will make it easier for them to build your successful claim.
It’s important that you think of retaining a loss assessor as an investment, rather than a cost. You are investing in their services to make sure that you have the best possible chance of making a successful insurance claim. If you don’t, you may run the risk of falling afoul of something you didn’t notice voiding your claim and leaving you with nothing.
Boiling it down as simply as possible
You should employ the services of a professional and accredited loss assessor as soon as possible, ideally from the moment you know you’re going to have to make a claim, to give yourself the best chance making it a successful one.
At Reinstate we have extensive experience providing loss assessment repairs and valuations to a range of domestic and commercial clients. If you need to make an insurance claim, simply contact us and we can help you to ensure your claim is as successful as possible and you get the payout you deserve.