Use of Drones for Property Damage Insurance Claims Inspections

The adults are getting in on all the fun when it comes to personal drones. It was only a matter of time before the insurance industry found them useful too when assessing property damage insurance claims. From surveying the damages caused by storms, to inspecting roofs, to taking an inventory on insured crops, the drone has found its place in the business.

Allstate Insurance Company is using drones in Texas to conduct home inspections in the hail swaths. This is an effort to quickly handle more claims. Their plan is to compare the photographs taken by the drones to those already taken by field adjusters on the ground. Their intent is to free up more time for the adjusters to take care of other aspects of the claim all the while staying safer by not climbing ladders and onto roofs. Farmers Insurance says “we’ll get a faster inspection.” They say “it could take an adjuster a few hours to inspect this roof where a drone could do it in 20 minutes.”

drones for property damage inspections
State Farm testing drones for property damage inspections.

Is this truly what is best for the policyholder, a faster inspection? And will this savings in time for the insurance company result in lower premiums for the policyholders? I think we all know the answer to that question.  Nothing can replace the human eye when it comes to a thorough inspection of storm caused damage, especially hail damage. A lot of times, it is difficult to depict the damage from photographs taken by an adjuster who is actually on the roof. I can’t imagine that photographs taken using a drone would make this anything but more difficult.

inspects hail damage
Ron Crow, a FEMA public assistance officer inspects hail damage by a hail core spun off by a tornado on May 10. Photo by Win Henderson

A spokesperson from the Insurance Council of Texas believes that “the ladder might soon be a thing of the past.” Just another reason the policyholder is going to require the services of a licensed public adjuster to get a thorough inspection and estimate of the damages. If your insurance adjuster isn’t going to get on the roof, your public adjuster definitely is.


New Year’s Resolutions – Hire a Public Adjuster

Out with the old and in with the new as we kick off 2017. Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions, including myself. Most of those include things like diet and exercise and more time with family and friends. Mine also includes better time management. This can apply to lots of areas of your daily life – personal and professional. Good time management includes not wasting time bothering with things someone else can do for you, such as handling a new or unsettled property insurance claim.

Did you know that there are professionals out there who are just waiting for you to contact them and they will do the work for you. There are licensed public adjusters, property damage attorneys, contents specialists, and other consultants and experts who will handle your claim for you. These various claim professionals can inspect, estimate, and/or negotiate your claim from start to finish or, depending on the situation, come in on a disputed or difficult claim and clean up the mess. A public adjuster is required to be licensed by the Department of Insurance (in most states) and is trained in reading your policy coverage. They have the knowledge, training, and expertise necessary to advocate on your behalf with no conflict of interest. Furthermore, they are a motivated advocate considering they work on a contingency fee basis and don’t get paid until you get paid.

Some people just don’t have time the deal with an insurance claim. More importantly though, most don’t have the knowledge and/or background to know what is covered in order to maximize payment of the claim. We use the word “maximize” your claim but what we really mean is get the claim paid fairly to begin with. So much gets left on the table, which goes right back into the insurance company’s pockets. That’s the way they want to keep it. Ask your agent or insurance adjuster and they will tell you that you don’t need to hire a public adjuster because they are going to take care of you. Well hire a public adjuster or other claim professional and see where the difference takes you. You just might be shocked.

If you have been so unfortunate to have experienced a fire lately then the situation may be even worse. The adjuster for the insurance company is likely going to hand you a sheet of paper and ask you to inventory all of your contents which were damaged by the fire. This includes the item description, brand, model and/or serial number, date purchased, place purchased, purchase price, age, condition, etc. We didn’t all just go out and fill an entire house overnight. These are things that we have accumulated over a lifetime of living in our home. This task isn’t as easy as one might think, especially when you get to what is in the drawers, doors, and closets. I mean seriously, I have 78 pairs of shoes and that doesn’t even count flip flops because those don’t count when the husband asks.

My time is valuable and I’m certain that yours is too. This New Year let’s all do ourselves a favor and maximize the use of our time doing what we are good at and leave what we aren’t to someone else.