Hiring a Public Adjuster Can Help With Home Insurance Claims

06 Jul
Hiring a public adjuster to help with homeowners insurance claims

For more complicated claims, having an adjuster that is in your corner is a great idea.

Having your home destroyed by a natural disaster is one of the most stressful things a person can go through in life and unfortunately, dealing with the insurance claim is probably the second most stressful thing someone will have to deal with in their lifetime.

While relying on the insurance companies adjuster for a simple fender bender is good policy, for more complicated claims, having an adjuster that is in your corner is a great idea. A public adjuster will help make sure your claim is filed correctly, will analyze your policy to verify your coverage and negotiate with the insurance company until your claim is resolved.

All of this expertise comes at a price though and you will be paying the bill, not the insurance company. Fees can range between 10 to 20 percent of the payout so it is wise to make sure you really need the services of a public adjuster before signing on the dotted line.

The need for a public adjuster will vary depending on the person and the size of the claim. Only you can decide if hiring a public adjuster makes sense. Let’s look at a few factors to consider.

Do I need a Public Adjuster?

Deciding whether to hire a public adjuster is a judgment call, not all situations require the services of a public adjuster.

While there is no right or wrong answer, most experts suggest hiring a public adjuster if your claim is over $10,000. However, this is just a general rule of thumb. If you are unhappy with insurance companies adjuster, they are not returning your calls promptly, or you just feel they are not handling your claim properly, consider calling in a public adjuster.

Despite the fact that the adjuster the insurance company sends out seems to have your best interest at heart, remember they work for the insurance company and their main goal is to settle your claims as cheaply as possible. If you feel they are leaving items out of your claim or are not properly valuing your property, its probably a good idea to hire an outside adjuster to represent your interests.

Where do I Find a Public Adjuster?

A quick Internet search will most likely bring up a list of local public adjusters but you should vett your choice before hiring them, you want to make sure they are an experienced professional.

The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) is a great place to start your search. The NAPIA requires their members to have a license and been working as a public adjuster for at least two years before they can join the organization.

The NAPIA website is a good start but make sure you do your research. Ask for references and call them to verify that they were happy with their experience. You should also contact your state Department of Insurance to verify that there have not been any complaints filed against any adjusters that you are considering.

What to Expect From a Public Adjuster

A good public adjuster will handle all dealings with the insurance company and make sure your claim is paid fairly.

They should do a detailed analysis of your policy to verify what is covered by your policy as well as your coverage limits. They will look at your policy to see if it is a replacement value or actual cash value and even help you compile a property inventory if you don’t already have one

A public adjuster will take the burden of dealing with the insurance claim off of your shoulders but remember, they are not miracle workers, don’t expect your insurance company to suddenly agree to all of your demands simply because you have hired a public adjuster.

It’s important to remember that even if you start the claim process with the company adjuster but feel a public adjuster would be a better option once you get into the process, you have the right to switch. This will increase the timeline on getting your claim resolved, as the public adjuster will need time to get up to speed.

Are They Worth the Money?

It’s important to remember that results will vary by claim so what might work for one person may not produce the same results for you.

Statistics are few and far between on the effectiveness of public adjusters but a Florida study that examined claims at a single insurance company in 2008-2009 found that policyholders who used a public adjuster received higher settlements than claimants who didn’t use them. The difference was roughly $3,607 not exactly chump change.

While an additional $3,600 sounds great, remember, a public adjuster will usually take 10-20 percent of the total claim amount as a fee so you may end up with less than you would have with the company adjuster.

Always run the numbers before hiring a public adjuster to make sure that it makes financial sense. In most cases, their fees are negotiable but don’t expect a ton of flexibility when it comes to their fee.

Only you can decide if a public adjuster is the right move for your claim but if you do decide to hire one make sure you check references and read reviews to make sure you get the best adjuster for your particular claim.

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