We’re facing a true and genuine global crisis, the likes of which none of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. This is a once in a century pandemic. 

People are isolating and quarantining themselves. Businesses are shutting down. Lawmakers are scrambling to get a grasp on everything that’s happening right now.

We’re living through uncertain times.

As auto damage appraisers, what does that mean for us?

As the world continues to shut down, many auto damage appraisers and independent adjusters are asking, “Can we still work?” 

In this article, I’ll point you to the information you need to know about working as an independent adjuster right now.

 

Can auto damage appraisers work during the coronavirus?

This is basically the number one question right now. Like most people, we have bills to pay and mouths to feed. We need whatever income we can get.

While there’s been talk of things like suspending rent and utility payments, giving out monetary stimulus packages to American citizens, and similar measures, nothing’s been decided or implemented yet.

The current quarantine measures in the United States are generally self-quarantine, which is voluntary. However, some states have introduced shutdown orders for certain non-essential businesses.

 

To help answer this question and to understand the effect Covid-19 is having on our industry, I interviewed two industry leading CEO’s, Tim Davis Jr. of SCA Appraisal & Ernie Bray of ACD.

 

Can auto damage appraisers work during the coronavirus?

This is basically the number one question right now. Like most people, independent auto appraisers and catastrophic insurance adjusters have bills to pay and mouths to feed. We need whatever income we can get.

While there’s been talk of things like suspending rent and utility payments, giving out monetary stimulus packages to American citizens, and similar measures, nothing’s been decided or implemented yet.

The current quarantine measures in the United States are generally self-quarantine, which is voluntary. However, some states have introduced shutdown orders for certain non-essential businesses.

Here’s a running list from Business Insider, published yesterday.

As you can see, certain kinds of businesses like bars and restaurants are the ones it’s been most essential to shut down. These are places where people congregate in large groups, making them a potential epicenter for the spread of this potentially deadly and highly virulent viral disease.

Currently, the states of California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey have issued various iterations of what amounts to a “stay at home” order.

Essential businesses — considered to include things like grocery stores and medical facilities — are remaining open. Citizens are strongly encouraged to stay at home in self-quarantine, leaving the house only for essential activities such as buying food or going to work in an essential business that needs to stay operational.

As of now, it’s estimated that these measures will remain in effect for at least eight weeks.

So where does that leave us, as auto damage appraisers? Are we able to work during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In most cases, yes. Insurance personnel are considered essential, as well as being a job that cannot feasibly be carried out remotely from home. 

As such, you may continue to do your job during the self-quarantine period.

If you have claims, you can continue to handle them on an as-needed basis, as long as your state is allowing you to do so.

So, if you want to carry on working, check your state government’s announcements regarding essential services and critical workers during the outbreak. Here are some helpful references for specific states:

And most importantly, if you are working, take every precaution to stay safe and prevent spreading the virus. 

How can auto damage appraisers stay safe while working during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Please be CAREFUL out there, and protect you and your loved ones.

COVID-19 is a novel strain of coronavirus, a diverse family of viruses best known as one of the causes of common colds and flu-like illnesses.

What sets it apart is that it’s extremely contagious and potentially deadly, especially for senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems.

Here are some health and safety best practices from IADA while working in the field as an auto appraiser during this difficult time:

  • Social distancing: Maintain a distance of three to six feet minimum to other people.
  • Do not shake hands. It will not be considered rude during an epidemic.
  • Wear disposable gloves at all times outside your vehicle, make sure to dispose of gloves before touching any surfaces you intend to touch without gloves.
  • Wash your hands as often as possible, thoroughly with soap or high alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cough or sneeze into your shirt or elbow, sanitize as soon as possible. 
  • Do NOT enter appraised vehicles. Take pics from a distance or request the owner send interior pictures as needed. Most clients are making allowances during this time.
  • Do not physically handle or exchange paperwork, including registrations. Take a photo without touching, or have a copy sent digitally.
  • Consider using remote appraisal or photo apps where possible. 
  • If you feel sick, stay home!

Hand soap and hand sanitizer are capable of destroying the virus. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water.

Working in the field means we don’t always have access to soap and water. And as you know, mass panic buying has led to shortages of hand sanitizer.

If you can’t find hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean, grab a substitute:

Not only do these measures help keep you from contracting the virus, but they also protect others. While a healthy adult may be able to recover from a COVID-19 infection, it’s essential to avoid becoming a disease vector and accidentally spreading it to someone who’s highly susceptible to the illness.

How is IA Path responding to the COVID-19 crisis?

As the owner of this small business, and an independent adjuster myself, my number one priority is supporting this community of IA’s and students. Our programs continue to run, and you can count on our mentorship and resources to continue to be available.

I’ll continue to update this post as I learn anything new about whether auto damage appraisers are considered essential, and how the quarantine measures and business shutdowns are going to play out across the United States.

If you have any questions about anything in this post, I would love to hear from you.