Appraisals for Transit-Related or Insurance Casualty Loss and Damage

Appraisers are frequently called upon to assist in the settlement of insurance casualty loss damage claims such as fire or theft losses. They might also be asked to assist with transit-related damage claims such as might occur as a consequence of a household move. The appraiser often plays a role in gathering and providing information that will be essential to the equitable settlement of damage and loss claims submitted to insurance and moving companies.

Appraisers may be called by the insured or by the shipper (the shipper is the owner of the property that is being moved) to assist in documenting and supporting their claims for damages. Appraisers may also be contacted by adjusters who work for insurance companies or for national or local household goods moving companies (variously referred to as the carrier or mover). Appraisers are also contacted by attorneys who get involved when the claimant sues over an unacceptable proposed claims settlement.

Identify the Client

For the intended use of damage claims, the identification of the client is of particular importance. The client is the party or parties who engage an appraiser (by employment or contract) in a specific assignment. The client identified in the appraisal is the party or parties with whom the appraiser has an appraiser-client relationship in the related assignment and may be an individual, group or entity.

The client could be the insurance company or the moving company’s claims adjuster. On the other hand, the client might be the insured or, in the case of a household move, the shipper ( i.e., the owner of the property). The appraiser-client relationship carries with it significant ramifications regarding trust, confidentiality, disclosure, and liability. The appraiser has that relationship only with identified client and with no other, thus the significance of clearly identifying the client.

Objective of a Damage Claims Appraisal

While the primary objective of a damage claims appraisal is typically to provide an opinion of value (usually market value or replacement value), damage claims appraisals may require the appraiser to provide other types of information as well. Such assignments may require the appraiser to note detail not normally required in an appraisal, such as the existence of pre-existing damage including even minor and common every day wear and tear.