Your home insurance claim may be able to be handled without an inspection and could be assigned to an inside or desk adjuster.
Usually if there could be damage to your roof or home siding, or other significant exterior or interior damage, an inspection by an outside adjuster would be scheduled. Your policy probably states your insurance company has a right to inspect for covered damages “as often as is reasonable.”
The decision to allow a claim to be handled by an inside adjuster may also be determined by other factors such as the aftermath of a major storm and availability of outside adjusters to stricken areas. Following a major storm, some insurance claim requirements are more relaxed and expedited, but may tighten up again after most of the initial claims have been settled.
An example of a claim that might be handled inside is a large tree branch from a healthy tree on your property fell and damaged an awning on your house. There was no other damage and you have an estimate to repair the awning for $450.00. A tree service charged $200.00 to remove and dispose of the tree branch. You have photographs and emailed a copy of the two estimates to the inside adjuster. Your policy deductible is 250.00 so the adjuster could issue you a check for $400.00 and close your claim.
Another example of a claim that could be handled by an inside adjuster is the wind blew 40 shingles off one section of your roof. A contractor has looked at the entire roof and told you there is no other damage to the roof, and they see no damage to any other part of the home or other structures. The adjuster using photos and an estimate from your contractor can address the claim. It should be noted that if the contractor indicates repairs will cost $800.00 and your policy deductible is $500.00, you will receive a payment from the adjuster in the amount of $300.00. If your deductible is $1,000, you will receive no payment since the estimate from the contractor falls under the deductible by $200.00. You should still document repairs since if you have another loss you can prove you had the prior damage repaired.
Tip: If you have to replace the awning instead of repairing it, non-recoverable depreciation may be deducted. Some items such as pool liners, pool covers, awnings – property that is not “protected by four walls” may be depreciated based on age. So, if it cost $1,000 to replace the awning, and the awning is 10 years old, the adjuster may deduct or withhold $100.00 from payment to you – called non-recoverable depreciation. Adding in the $250.00 deductible withheld, payment to you would be $650.00 for the awning.
Insured should note that home insurance policies vary from state to state, and insurance companies, and are also subject to be changed or amended especially following major storms in an area. For the latest up to date information on policy and storm regulations you should speak with your claims adjuster or your agent. You should only make major mitigation and repair decisions at the direction of your adjuster. Do not assume there is coverage for any damage since that decision has to be made by an adjuster.