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The Great Hunt: Have you used a loss assessor to help with an insurance claim – and was it worth it?

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Hello there Forumites.

A loss assessor is someone you appoint to fight your corner with an insurance claim (so we're not talking about a loss adjuster, who's appointed by the insurer to assess claims).

We want to know if you've ever used an assessor, whether they were helpful, and if they were worth the money. Please let us know your loss assessor experiences below.


Thanks for your help!

MSE Kelvin
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Comments

  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    Never used one personally but having done a fair amount of work in claims I have certainly come across a lot of customers that have. 

    Professionally, its generally better dealing with them than directly with the customer as they know how insurance works and so "grannys wedding ring" is valued at the £500 its worth in gold and no arguments about the sentimental value etc. They also typically present the claim in a much more coherent way meaning less going round in circles of trying to work out what the insured is going on about.

    Worth the money is going to depend on the metrics you measure on. Do they negotiate a higher settlement than you'd have personally been able to? Well that depends partially on your negotiation skills and theirs... as with every service provider there are good and poor ones out there. Do they save you time? Almost certainly, if that saved time justifies their fees is again a personal question.

    As someone working in the industry I think I would only really consider using one on a fairly catastrophic loss and then more for taking some of the stress/time out of the process than thinking I'll be financially better off as a result.
  • elsiemoly
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    My house was trashed by tenants and I tried to get some compensation from the insurance company. The assessor said that because the damage had been caused by the tenants' lifestyle choices (concreting over the garden, cracking the hearthstone in the living room fireplace, leaving dozens of rawl-plug holes in the walls, carpets trashed etc.) and not by malicious intent, I wasn't able to claim on my exorbitant insurance. The assessor was sent by the insurers, I didn't pay for him to come over myself. Apparently, I had the right to appeal, but I was so gutted by what had happened to my lovely house I didn't have the heart for it, especially since the tenants were formerly friends. Now my house is getting back to normal, a year and a half later.
  • Mintchocolate
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    Think Elsiemoly is confusing loss assessor with loss adjuster. The insurance company send an Adjuster to check if your claim Is valid and if it is to discuss with you your loss and set a reserve for the costs. They write a report for the insurer (usually they don’t work for the insurer but a Loss Adjusting firm). A Loss Assessor works for you to help you make a valid and accurate claim. You pay the Assessor. Before I met my OH I just thought you had to accept whatever an insurer said when you made a claim. I now know you can challenge and negotiate if you are not satisfied, negotiate a cash settlement instead of repairs and you can add to your claim later if you forgot something that was damaged or stolen at the time while your claim is still open. My OH is a Loss Adjuster.
  • Pumpkin1
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    We used one when my late mothers house flooded. The assessor was invaluable he worked on a no win no fee Basis so he worked hard to get the best deal for us. The more he got the more he earned. The whole house bar a few rooms were completely renovated. He was an absolute life saver at a very difficult time dealing with everything. If your loss is a big one I would really recommend using a good one that comes on recommendations. 
  • Bonnypitlad
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    I had a fire on my drive, car and caravan written off, damage to house, roof, walls drive, guttering, glazing, garage door satellite dish, interior smoke damage. I had to manage the repairs with numerous different contractors and submit individual invoices. I foolishly thought that the insurance company would manage the repairs
    In the final weeks an Insurance Adjuster assisted me in claiming for smoke/ heat damage inside the garage, he simplified the process. I wish he had been in charge from the beginning to manage all the contractors 
  • Zana711
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    It's been definitely worth hiring a loss assessor in my case but in general, I would only recommend it for major incidents (£100K+ claims) and that you can negotiate good fee terms with the loss assessor acting on your behalf.

    My upstairs neighbour had a burst pipe just before Christmas last year; as it was the main water pipe that pumps water into their flat, the high water pressure meant that substantial damage was done before the water could be turned off. The London Fire Brigade evacuated the building and eventually helped pump water out of my flat and my next door neighbour's flat. What a Christmas it turned out to be!

    While both my buildings & contents claim were filed promptly (insured through different insurers), the loss adjuster representing my buildings insurer did not make contact with me for three weeks despite the seriousness of the situation. After having exhausted all options to escalate the claim, I hired a loss assessor to represent me. 

    Not having ever made an insurance claim before, the loss assessor guided me through the process and was with me when the loss adjusters representing both insurers visited the flat to examine the damage. Just purely having someone who knows what is the "norm" in such a situation was well worth it. He helped to negotiate alternative accommodation (which the buildings insurer in principle agreed to but hadn't done anything) & introduced contractors experienced in managing water damage. He also told me that I was eligible to hire a chartered surveyor to help project manage the flat refurbishment, something which I wouldn't have known. Obviously he had financial incentives to do this but since I was clueless on how these big insurance claims work, I was grateful for someone to provide some help & guidance when I was already under great stress at being kicked out of my own home. 

    On the content insurers' side, I also ended up getting a larger settlement than what I thought I would originally get because of the loss assessor's advice. He encouraged me to list everything which are damaged or potentially damaged on the "beyond economic repair" list and let the insurer decides whether it's in fact BER or not. For example, my washer dryer was in standing water for some time. When I turned it on, it appeared to be working. He told me to put it on the BER list because rust might develop & the washer dryer might need to be replaced in a few months' time - best to let the insurer decide what to do with it. All good advice that I would not have thought of. 

    The claim is still ongoing after 10 months and I'm still living in temporary accommodation. Whenever I tell this story of the "big flood" to others, I always mention that if they ever find family & friends in the same situation, the best advice they can give them is to ask them to hire a loss assessor. 
  • 0161Buttons
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    We were burgled 18months ago and the house was trashed completely. Carpets ruined, windows - nightmare! The Insurance Company appointed a LA immediately and we thought this was standard then. It was only when they wanted a list of items - everything required receipts and pictures if possible to prove we actually had them!  Me being me - I had all this information so was able to provide it. It was only then that I realised the amount of cover I had was actually split up in their small print into commodities as they pleased - ie: Fixtures/fittings. Valuables. Consumables/non-consumables - so, this is in effect how they don't pay you out for actually what you had!  I was fortunate enough to own a Hermes handbag - they offered me £500 for this!!  I'd never get another one for this price ever! My most loved watch, Mums engagement ring and family jewellery - all gone. They effectivelyoffered me a quarter of what this was worth - and I had my paperwork or valuations for most of the stuff!  It's then you are told, the 75k you thought you were covered for is in fact split up into portions, so effectively, we got under 20k for nearly 75k of taken items. We appointed our own LA then and he did fight our corner and made them realise the actual costs of items and put some items into different categories so we would be covered. It cost 9% of the payout but without him we would have got half of what they originally offered so well worth it and a hard lesson learnt in "contents & buildings" insurance too!! 
  • HCM2007
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    I used one for a big fire in a property I let out. Though you have to pay them quite a bit, they manage to get more out of the insurance company than you ever would. It takes all the stress out of it too. I'm convinced I would be far more out of pocket without their help. It was definitely worth it for me.
  • hazelplt
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    This is the first time I've heard of a loss assessor.  I wish I had known about them when I had a massive home contents and buildings insurance claim nearly 4 years ago due to a water leak that left the house uninhabitable, as I'm sure we were done over on certain things, possibly more by the contractors than the insurance company.
  • Linda_Masterson
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    We were flooded in 2014 and because we had no experience of such insurance claims and had no idea where or how to start, we appointed a loss assessor immediately. We had talked with a neighbour who had used the company before when she flooded and she had been so pleased she reappointed them the second time. They sent a rep almost immediately and appointed an assessor and set up our first meeting with the loss adjuster. They enabled us to fully demonstrate to the adjuster the full extent of the damage to our building and the loss of the contents and personal belongings. They provided guidance, advice and advocacy. There were many aspects of our allowable claims we would not have asked for. For example: a daily sum of money for meals while we were in the hotel, a furniture pack to use while we were in the rented property. They immediately appointed a surveyor to assess the cost of the refurbishment of our bungalow which was used to submit to our claim. Other residents in our area who did not use an assessor had their refurbishments assessed by the insurers. The assessors PA contacted us at least twice a week to update us on progress and to enquire how we were. They managed all the contacts with the insurers. Because we decided in the end to rebuild our property we wanted to move as soon as the claim was agreed and we moved out of the rented place before they expected us to. The assessor arranged for the insurers to pay for our furniture storage for 3 months in lieu of the rent.
    The insurance for the contents was ‘new for old’ and was contentious -especially when we were wanting to replace items that were no longer available. The search for prices and correct replacement values was time consuming and tedious and it was great to have someone to help me. The initial offer on the contents was £7000 short of our (very conservative) estimate and she firmly refused it on our behalf. After many months they finally offered us a settlement that was £750 less than we had claimed.
    The assessor negotiated the staged payments that the insurers were to make once the rebuilding was started and monitored these throughout. Because we went to live in Devon (cheaper winter rents) it also meant that we were represented at meetings if we could not attend. The fee was £10000 but if we had had the bungalow re-instated those fees would have been collected from the various contractors as part of the contract. They supported and helped us throughout a long and upsetting experience and we know we would not have coped well without them. It was especially reassuring to be able to phone them when something was going wrong or we didn’t know how to answer something. 
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