How Insurance Companies And Appraisers Scam Their Customers

House On Golf Course In HawaiiI’ve always trusted my insurance company, which I’ll call TRICKY DICK in this article, to do the right thing. After all, I’ve been a client of theirs for almost 20 years. They’ve benefited from my growth in assets and I now have auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, valuable personal property insurance and an umbrella policy with them.  Furthermore, I’ve got a relatively large chunk of change in CDs deposited with them as well.

I had a unwelcomed change in my credit card the other day and had to call Tricky Dick to cancel my existing card on file and add a new one. Imagine my surprise when looking over my previous statement that they were billing me 45% more a month in premiums!  What the hell, I thought to myself.  Clearly there must be a mistake.  Oh how wrong I was.

HOW I GOT SCAMMED

Tricky Dick sent out a mandatory home inspector to my house last December to make sure my re-building costs were still the same.  I don’t know what the rule is, but supposedly after so many years, a home inspection is mandated by law, or so a letter from Tricky Dick said.  Uh huh.  The inspector noted the amenities in my house and calculated the square footage. Apparently, the home inspector and Tricky Dick now believe I live in a mini-mansion with a livable square footage estimate 50% higher!  WTF guys!

Based on Tricky Dick’s new square footage estimate, it now costs me $400/sqft to rebuild my house based on the new 50% larger size, and  $600/sqft on my house’s real square footage!  Somehow, the home inspector and Tricky Dick think that instead of hard wood floors, I have gold floors.  All the door knobs have suddenly turned from crystal to diamonds.  Meanwhile, my roof is not just any old roof, it’s clearly a landing pad for one of my Airwolf Helicopters.  Come on guys.  $400-600/square foot in building cost is ridiculous!

When I asked the Tricky Dick insurance woman how much the building costs are for her area in Colordao, she said $100-$200/sqft. Exactly, so why the F does Tricky Dick think it costs 4-6x more to build a house in San Francisco?  It’s not like California has special wonder board, windows, nails, tiles, roofing, and wood.  Building costs are roughly the same, and only the labor might be higher.

She sheepishly agreed and said she’d look into it.

GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT

This is what really pisses me off. Despite telling Tricky Dick to look up my house on the SF county records to see the real square footage, she said it is up to me to prove the real size of my house!  Her company prevents her from logging on to the SF county records, Zillow, and all these other online real estate companies because of “security” reason.  It is absolutely ludicrous that I have to fight the crooked home inspector’s assessment.  Good thing I have an appraisal report from last year when I refinanced, detailing the floor plans, square footage and all the details within my house.  If I didn’t, I’d have to go spend $700 to get an appraisal and then send it in.  What a waste of time and money!

When companies waste my time, that’s when everything goes to hell.  I did some investigating by talking to my friends in the real estate industry and what I found was disturbing.

They basically said home appraisers/inspectors are henchmen used to enrich the banks and insurance companies. With the banks, home appraisers manipulate the value higher so that a seller can sell to the buyer, even if the value is lower than reality. If a home does not appraise for what the buyer wants to pay, no transaction happens and nobody gets paid.

For insurance companies, home inspectors are asked to increase the value of the home by increasing the square footage and embellish the value of the amenities.  Instead of laminate floors, they’ll put in Brazilian Cherry hardwood floors, or in my case gold floors.  Instead of simple lights, they’ll enter crystal chandeliers to use to juice their estimates.  This way, the insurance companies can charge a higher premium for coverage.  In my case, Tricky Dick plans to charge me a full $1,200 more a year.

I am so disappointed that after all the money I have parked with Tricky Dick and after 20 years of being a client, they’d want to screw me like this.  What the hell happened to more customer protection after the financial downturn?  Apparently nothing much has changed.

GAME PLAN TO FIGHT BACK

My first instinct as a blogger was to contact Tricky Dick on Twitter and ask them for help. But just like the other five tweets I’ve sent over the past 12 months, nobody has ever responded.  Why have a Twitter account if you don’t ever respond to your customers?  Their social media effort is a D-.

I then called a nice representative who said she would investigate. She did and told me to send in proof of my home floor area, which is still a pain in the ass despite having the appraisal on file somewhere.  I will send the document in and tell them to credit my account back for the two months  overcharge. I will then ask them to reimburse three hours of my time and stress dealing with this bullshit valued at $500/hour, or $1,500 total.

If they do not give me something close to $1,500 credit, I will withdraw hundreds of thousands in cash deposits and shut all my insurance product accounts.  If they keep me as a happy customer, they will probably get hundreds of thousands in deposits over the next 10 years.  If not, I walk.  I will vote with my money.

TOO BAD SO SAD

What makes this situation worse is that Tricky Dick is a great company 99% of the time.  Their customer service is excellent and their rates for CDs and insurance products are competitive.  Every time I talk to someone there, they are very helpful.  It’s too bad a black sheep in the home insurance department at Tricky Dick convinced the home inspector to over appraise my home by 50% to make more money.  To over appraise by 10-20% is reasonable, but by 50% is absolute hogwash.

Tricky Dick, I know you will never get back to me online.  Just know that it’s not good to scam your customers, especially ones that have been loyal customers for two decades and who have a blog.  Re-instill the faith I’ve had in you guys for all these years and make it right.  After sending in my recent home appraisal, telling me it will take two weeks to have your corrupt home inspection department look into it is now wasting your company’s time and money.  Just do the right thing and stop dicking around!

Recommendations For Property Homeowners:

* Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best way to become financially independent and protect yourself is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and how my net worth is progressing.

* Get the best home insurance possible. In order for your property to grow in value you must protect your property from damage. Fires, floods, leaks, theft, and other accidents happen all the time. If you have cut-rate insurance, you could very well pay way more than you should. I highly recommend checking with USInsurance.com online to find the best home insurance rates. They have a huge network of providers that will compete against each other to provide the most tailored home insurance coverage possible that is affordable. Mobile home insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, and homeowners insurance are just a few of the options based on the type of home in which you reside. Leverage the internet to save money and protect your largest asset.

* Check Your Credit Score: Take a moment to check your free TransUnion credit score through GoFreeCredit.com, a company I trust. 30% of credit reports have errors, which could put a serious hamper on your refinancing or new loan borrowing abilities. I had a $8 late payment I didn’t even know I owed crush my score by 100 points come up during my last refinance! If you don’t want the credit monitoring service, simply cancel before the grace period is up. The average credit score for a rejected mortgage applicant is 729 as of 8/2013!

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    Sorry to hear that Sam! Maybe the door knobs are made of crystal! Are you sure they are not?! :)

    I was with a similar insurance company. One fine morning they jacked up the premium to almost double. Shopped around and got a better deal, switched. Called them to tell them about the switch. NOW they wanted me back! Apparently since I was with them for so long, I was a ‘diamond’ member with lots of additional perks and lower premium. But they never bothered to send me that letter!

    Anyway they agreed to reduce the premiums ever further if I switched back. I did, but now I don’t trust them as much and always wary of what new tricks they might pull.

    Such companies leave a bad taste in your mouth.

    • says

      Well, actually, my doorknobs ARE made of crystal, but they aren’t made of DIAMONDS like they might think! lol.

      How can our insurance co just JACK up your premium almost 100%? This is so ridiculous, I can’t stand it. How do companies get away with this?!

      • says

        I think part of the reason they can get away with it Sam is the psychology involved to fight back. It’s not in most people’s daily routines to spend the effort and check for and then fight hikes like this. Therefore a company knows they can pull a quickie like this and probably not have to deal with anything.

        Glad you are standing up to this Sam. I wish everyone would.

  2. says

    Unfortunately your story tallies up with many other Tricky Dick insurance stories I’ve heard in the past. And to think those shysters could have kept on overcharging you till dooms day had you not contacted them on another matter. So at least you were lucky to cut their scheme off at the pass.

    Will be curious to hear the outcome.

  3. says

    Man that sucks. I’ll be interested to see if the company reimburses your time at $500/hr. It can’t hurt to ask, but I’m doubtful they’ll do it. Let us know how it goes!

  4. Mike Hunt says

    Sam,

    It’s because they know you and your wife are pure gold :-)

    Pull your policy and shop around. Keep your money in their CD’s though- drawing 5% when 10 year treasuries are below 3% is a nice kick in their teeth.

    -Mike

    • says

      Yes, that is a good idea. Although, I’m not quite getting 5% in CDs from them. That would be huge! 4.2% locked in though, which I’m happy with.

      I think I very well will look at other insurance policies online at least and see how things stack up. There’s a lot of work needed i.e. they need an inspection I’m assuming… but maybe not b/c I never remember getting an inspection the first year my house was insured.

  5. says

    I never trust people like that do act in your own best interest (Or even in their own long term best interest), so I basically have 0 loyalty to any company – air carrier, bank or whatever. If I find a lower price, I’ll take it. Not only will it save me money, but it can keep my from getting screwed by them in the future. No one wants to piss off a brand new customer, so they screw the guy who has been there quite a while, hoping he wont notice and bolt.
    As the great Jay-Z Says “The label didnt drop me, I dropped them”.
    Good luck resolving this sam!

    • says

      “No one wants to piss off a brand new customer, so they screw the guy who has been there quite a while, hoping he wont notice and bolt.”

      I think you are right! A risky game, given the RELATIVE easy it is to transfer policies around.

  6. says

    Wow, I guess it was a good thing in the long run that you cancelled that credit card, even though it was a pain.

    I just got informed that my house is suddenly in a flood zone (one of 2 houses in the entire neighborhood, go figure). I now have to go fight that. The mortgage bank told us that they would be taking a flood insurance policy out on my house if we didn’t and it could cost 2400/year.

    All this stuff is so frustrating!

    • says

      That’s just bull hanky crap!! And the worst is you are guilty and have to prove you aren’t in the flood zone. Thy don’t have to prove jack to you, which is their attitude.

      Be vigilant! $2,400 a year more in premiums is NOT chump change !

  7. says

    I hope you do choose to move your money from the company. Voting with your money is the only way to make sure that you do have some power in the marketplace.

    I wish more people would realize that, and decide to use the power that they do have.

  8. says

    They pulled that one on use 3-4 years back. You have to watch these guys like a hawk and check your statements every year. I called them and gave them the correct sq. footage and that was all it took. I didn’t have to send in an appraisal.

  9. says

    I thought about installing gold floors in my place but decided against it as diamond encrusted ones look so much better…jk :) That sux they are creating so much hassle and didn’t even send you a notification!! Luckily I haven’t had any scammy issues with insurance (yet) but I have with banks charging fees they shouldn’t have. I watch my statements like a hawk and make sure I know what every transaction is & challenge anything fishy.

  10. says

    Sam, When will you come clean on the company name? Just curious as I’m sure all your readers are. And what’s the use of a blog for a weapon, if you aren’t using real ammunition? Are you just waiting to see if they follow through?

    I gave a company Kudos (Hilton Garden Inns) on my blog for great service recently. I do think legitimate praise, and criticism are both equally valuable.

    • says

      The case is still in progress. It all depends on the outcome. I got a letter from them today finally after two weeks saying that have adjusted my house’s squarefootage size, and the rebuild cost down… but not as much as the original cost. I’m working through the details now.

      Feel free to check my Twitter stream if you want to be Dr. Watson instead!

  11. Darwin's Money says

    So typical; I hate when companies waste my time. I had the company that formed my LLC for me keep sending me letters a year later that I had to renew some stupid registered agent service even though I could do act as one myself. They eventually threatened me with collections even though I said to cancel all affiliations with them. total punks! Companies pull some BS stuff and evidently don’t care about their reputations.

  12. says

    I’m so curious to hear who it is, too. I’ve loved my insurance company, USAA. They’ve been great to us. But, I’d love to hear who yours is…It may lead others to take a second look at their policies.

  13. says

    That really stinks. Hopefully they will come back and make peace with you by refunding most of your money. If not, walk away quickly! And don’t forget to write a nice little letter to their CEO explaining that you’ve been a great customer for 20 years (possibly referring others by word of mouth) and now are disappointed in their service. Stir up a little competition and all of a sudden they bend over backwards to please you. Good luck!

  14. says

    @Buck Inspire
    Definitely hard to trust a a company which jacks you like this. Very disappointing.

    @The College Investor
    I’m writing a follow up post. As I said, the company is good 99% of the time. I don’t feel one corrupt home inspector should warrant I rake the company over the coals. Citibank’s move was very weak though, and they have many issues, so I wasn’t gun shy.

    @Little House
    Looks like they are working to lower it, but not as much as I liked. It’ll be retroactive. Thx.

    @Jerry
    Can’t comment, if that’s a hint!

    @Darwin’s Money
    Wasting time is really the biggest issue. Spending hours on the phone and trading e-mails. I want my time back!

    @JT
    I think i will def shop around, but leave my money earning 4.2% there. It’s a good rate.

  15. says

    Oddly enough, I’m been getting quotes on my house insurance for the past few weeks.

    I’m thinking of doing one company shopping. Where like you have done, buy all my insurance thru one company to get the combined discounts. I wonder if all insurance companies are going this route…

    I’ll be looking forward to the followup blog on what happened! Good luck, I think they will cave in your case (at least if they are smart) :)

  16. says

    I know the company since I stalk you on Twitter, but why not just call them out. You aren’t disparaging them other than saying they may have F’ed up…then they can fix it

  17. Marsha says

    I have filed an insurance claim on my roof. Every home on my block has received a complete new roof. My insurance company “Farmers” says they do not have to give me a new roof and will only pay for the shingles that are damaged. I’ve requested a new adjuster and have heard nothing yet.
    What should I do?

  18. Victim says

    Buddhist Proverbs

    Trust your best Friend

    Beware your best Friend

    Especially if there name is Friends Provident

  19. says

    Companies put so much time and effort into “customer loyalty” and they KNOW that it’s cheaper to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one, and yet they’re still not to be trusted, since they’ll take a chance to gain a profit.

    In this case for example, they are probably offering dirt cheap premiums to new customers shopping around, in order to compete. For you, they increased your payment hoping you wouldn’t notice. Then they made it tough to lower, hoping you wouldn’t go through the steps. Since you already know some good things about them, and it’s a pain to switch, they probably figure that they can still keep a small increase in your premium. In comparison to the HUGE increase they wanted to give you, a smaller increase will now seem more reasonable to you, the client (theoretically.)

    Really, they should have to drop your rate in order to keep you, but I don’t think that’s how this will work out.

  20. Sue says

    I & 2 cousins inherited property from my aunt. We had to change insurance companies, but kept the same dwelling coverage amount. The premium was paid and a new policy was issued. The new insurance company just informed us they consider the house ‘overinsured’ and want to decrease the coverage from $152,000 to $92,000. That seems like quite a drop, and I find it hard to believe we could build a comparable house for the lower amount. Not sure what their strategy is…

  21. mike says

    Insurance companies are the biggest scam of the last two centuries…Think of it as the biggest most organized pyramid scheme ever constructed…And all us suckers are forced to support them. These billion dollar companies are just sitting back and counting their money and laughing at us for being so weak to allowing ourselves to give in to such a scam.

  22. Linds says

    @Jerry- sorry to burst your bubble…

    USAA cancelled my insurance policy suddenly for no apparent reason. I say suddenly because they never sent us notice until it was already cancelled. After several phone calls and countless hours on the phone my hubby got one associate to admit that they MEANT to send notice and have no record of actually sending notice of cancellation. This has resulted in a “gap” in our homeowners insurance timeline, which means we are virtually uninsurable except by a few companies at an astronomical premium.

    I plan to come at these people full throttle from all angles. I will be phoning them every day, perhaps several times a day. I will also file formal complaints with my state comsumer protection agency and the better business bureau. I further plan to start a website, facebook page, twitter account, and you tube account to share my experience with other consumers. I will not stop until I have had this matter resolved to my satistfaction. I can’t afford a lawyer… but they don’t know that. I think for a couple hundred dollars I could get a lawyer to draft a threatening letter on letterhead though.

    If anyone can think of anything else I can possibly do to make USAA say “uncle” for their possibly illegal screw-up let me know.

  23. Thomas from Hot and Humid Tampa says

    So what happened, how did it end? Did they lower the premium? Did you get credit/refund for your time and effort?

  24. Jennifer says

    We live in the western suburbs of Chicagoland, and currently pay just under $700 a year in insurance. According to the renewal policy I just received, Coverage A is listed at $234,000. We are selling this house for $225k, so I agree that number sounds right on. We are purchasing a new to us home (built in 1905) in a far, far far south suburb (if you can even call it that), for $176k, and the cheapest policy I’ve found so far has Coverage A of $307k, and the yearly policy cost is $1236. I had a quote of $1800+ a year with a replacement value of $494k!!!!!! Of course I’m shocked, and as I ask more questions, I find out all about their “sliding” scale, that as the replacement value goes up, so do my other coverage – for instance, my current belongings, which I am moving to the new home, are currently insured up $117k, at the new house, those same belongings are now valued at $324k – WHAT????? I guess during the move they’ll go through a solid gold coating process!!! And here’s my favorite – currently, if our home where to need repair or be rebuilt, and we could not live there, the ins co would pay up to $46800 so we could live somewhere else during construction. The new policy will cover us up to $122k!!! That’s ~3x the other amount – I asked the ins co guy was it typical to buy the entire hotel for a year so they’re clients could live it up – he didn’t laugh!!! Seriously!!!! Its one thing for the replacement value of a home to go up, but this sliding scale is a joke! I’m pretty sure my 3 yo flat screne tv has not gone up in value, and that my craigslist purchase bedroom set has not tripled in value! This is such a scam, and so many people have no idea, they just get a few quotes, pick the cheapest, figure its the best they’ll get and never ask questions – what can we do????

    • Dennis says

      My goodness! All you good folks don’t have a clue how property and casualty insurance works. Including you Sam. You would serve your readers better by really understanding and providing real information based on insurance law and reasoning rather than emotional “us vs them” attitudes. The insurance industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries. Is it perfect? No. But misinformation and emotional blogging only makes emotion the basis for decision making.

      • says

        Then feel free to EXPLAIN how it works instead.

        I’ve shared exactly my story of how collusive and sketchy things are based on my experience, why don’t you share, help your industry, and teach us how things work.

  25. Pedro says

    Yeah, I had a bad experience with Pacific Casualty & General Insurance Limited. My shipment had over 18 damaged items of varying value. They made up an arbitrary claim that I had to claim in 15 days (not in the documents), but their agent gave me the wrong insurance company name and address so that they would delay in responding and then scam me stating that I was too late to make my claim.

    First they want high premiums, then damage deposit, then they rake you over the coals with increased premiums if you make a claim. What a scamming industry!!!

  26. karen says

    Just wanted to mention another trick up home insurance companies sleeves these days. This has now happened to me three times: the company “approves” insurance pending inspection. Charges you for the full policy up front – let’s say $400 for the year, which comes out to $33 a month. They diddle around for about a month and a half until your 30 day cancellation grace period expires, then tell you you’re not actually approved for some hare brained reason. No guardrail on the back stoop, no smoke detector in the linen closet, no deadbolt on the rabbit coop. Annoying enough to have this horse**** hanging over your head, but insult to injury, they then keep, shall we say, $100 of your payment. Extrapolated, this makes the insurance you’re paying 50% more than you were quoted, an amount you’d never have agreed to in the first place. The last company, let’s call them Ameriprise – let’s, as that’s their name – didn’t even send a cancellation notice or any explanation, I received a mysterious credit to my card, and had to call them find out I had no insurance (and paid double for the 45 days I actually had a policy.) Stellar, thank you so much Progressive for luring me away from a perfectly decent insurance policy with someone else and leaving me high and dry.

  27. John Vincent Gomez-Iglesias says

    Mr. Samurai:
    Concerning you and your friends impressions of ‘Appraisers’ you wrote, ‘They basically said home appraisers/inspectors are henchmen used to enrich the banks and insurance companies. With the banks, home appraisers manipulate the value higher so that a seller can sell to the buyer, even if the value is lower than reality. If a home does not appraise for what the buyer wants to pay, no transaction happens and nobody gets paid.’
    This may be so with bad appraisers, and appraiser mills (many have been arrested & kicked out of the field, and rightfully so), but this is not true and is insulting. Some of us are career appraisers, we love our business, and we follow every letter of the law. ‘We’ get paid up front, and we don’t care what the properties appraise for. That is why we are impartial to the results, as we only report what we see is happening within the market. Good appraisers do not make up numbers, we support everything we do and write, as well as keep detailed records of where and when we collected our information. Just like ‘bad appraiser’ do not because they can’t. It’s impossible, so they go to jail.
    There has been a lot of fraud over the last few years, but not exclusively in the appraising arena, but with realtors, mortgage brokers, banks and yes, insurance companies. Just ask your ‘real estate’ friend.
    You would be very surprised how many banks and lending organizations hate many appraisers/appraisal companies because of just the opposite. We kill many deals. And it’s my ass in the firing line if I overprice a property and then there’s a problem with the loan. Not theirs. Why do you think it’s mandatory that appraisers carry a minimum of $2 Million dollars insurance? Yeah, in case we make unintended errors (we are human, ya know?) But mortgage brokers and realtors don’t need insurance in case they lie or screw up. They made their money… which is a lot more than we make, fyi. People love to blame the appraisers, but I honestly tell you that is not the case. Oh, and there are many insurance companies out there that will not work or send us business because we don’t ‘play ball’ with them.
    There are bad apples in every field and industry, Mr. Financial Samurai. As I am sure you could attest that there are bad bloggers. I think that it is quite unfair and improper that a respected journalist (blogger) as yourself would inform all your readers that all appraisers are ‘henchmen’ for big corporate america… especially when some of us readers & followers of your blog are/were real estate appraisers.

    Respectfully,
    John Vincent Gomez-Iglesias
    Former Florida Real Estate Appraiser

    • says

      John,

      You are right. Not all appraisers are bad. This is the story of my own experience with a very lazy, bad appraiser who didn’t do his due diligence and charged the bank and myself an arm and a leg for minutes of work.

      I also agree with you regarding many appraisers killing deals b/c the appraised value is not high enough.

      Thanks for your perspective. What I’d like people to come away with is an idea of how the system works and all the moving parts. Buyers and sellers beware.

      Sam

  28. Nick says

    Interesting experience. I’ve actually had the opposite problem happen on a few recent apartment purchases when setting up the insurance. On two recent cases the coverage amount seemed low. When I questioned the amounts I got some explanation about keeping premiums low, and was supplied a $/sq.ft to construct that was appropriate in Arakansas, but not the bay area.
    The problem i have with this, is when something bad happens and you need to call on your insurance company to rebuild, the coverage is not enough. If this occurs, it seems to be negating the whole reason apartment owners pay premiums.
    On both occasions, raising the coverage amount to the appropriate level only raised the premium by a very small %. Seems like a small price to pay to be adequately covered. One last comment, don’t forget to check on your coverage amounts over time. If construction costs or values rise it’s good to be on the ball so that proper coverage is in place.
    Really Enjoy your blog.

  29. Jim Marchman says

    Interesting discussion, thank you for posting. I am an insurance field inspector and I find the commentors’ experiences interesting. In fact, I had my insurance cancelled because of a missing handrail on the back deck and that the insurance company decided that my roof was too old. When I am performing inspections, in this case residential, I am looking for the most obvious things: missing handrails, concrete that has heaved and is now a trip/fall hazard, and limbs that overhang the roof. There are plenty of other issues but these are most common. I am an independent contractor who DOES NOT work for any insurance company. I work for larger inspection companies whose clients are the underwriters. I get paid a flat rate for the inspection whether the house is perfect or falling down. I don’t make more money for finding fault with a property. I am giving only the most basic of information when I am assigned an inspection. I usually can’t tell you if your policy is for liability or property, I simply don’t know nor do I care because the coverage type and amounts do not affect my work. Samurai, it sounds like you had a “high value inspection” performed where the quality of the materials and belongings in the house may be considered. These are a tiny part of the insurance inspection business and the few that I have performed have been in homes of significant higher value than 99.99% of other houses. The word “appraiser” comes up frequently in the conversation but it doesn’t sound like that inspector was an appraiser or necessarily an employee of the insurance company. The inspector’s job is to give an honest and unbiased statement of what he/she observes and provide photos to back that up. Independent inspectors such as myself do not have any input other than to witness and document what is there. A certified home inspector would carry the responsibility of judging the mechanical and (truly) structural integrity of the house and that is an entirely different animal.

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