Home Insurance Adjusters – Everything you need to know!

28 Sep

If you have recently filed a claim on your homeowners insurance there is a good chance they have assigned an insurance adjuster to assess your claim. If you are wondering, “What exactly does a home insurance adjuster do,” you have come to the right place. An insurance adjuster will investigate your loss as well as come up with a settlement amount. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about homeowner insurance adjusters.

Preparing for a home adjuster’s visit

Once a claim has been filed, your insurer will usually set up an appointment for an adjuster to visit your home and inspect the damage. While every adjuster visit can be different, in most cases you should prepare for the visit by doing the following:

  • Document the damage: This is important for any home insurance claim. You should document the damage that has been done to your home. Write down the time and date of the incident and take plenty of photos and video of the damage from multiple angles. Always make sure it is safe to document the damage before going back into your home or up on the roof.
  • Collect documents: Have all your documentation (video and photos) ready for the adjuster as well as any witness statements you may have collected from the neighbors. If you have made temporary repairs, be sure you have the receipts for any supplies you may have purchased. You should also have any estimates for repairs that you have gotten ready to show the adjuster as well as a listing of any damaged or stolen personal property. 
  • If possible, be home for the visit: While you may not be required to be there for the adjuster visit, it’s a good idea to stay home for the inspection if possible. You want to be able to point out the damage to the adjuster and make sure they don’t overlook any damage or missing items. 
  • What happens next: Before the adjuster leaves your home be sure to ask what the next step is and when you can expect to be contacted by your insurer or the adjuster with a claim amount. Also get contact details for the adjuster so you can follow up if you don’t hear anything in a timely manner.

What you need to do after an adjuster visit

After the adjuster has examined the damage there is a good chance you will have some work to do to help speed your claim along. Most insurers will require you to do the following:

  • Damage list: You will need to send a detailed list of the damage to both your home and any personal property that was damaged or destroyed. You should make the list as detailed as possible and include photos and receipts for any personal property that was lost. Keeping a detailed inventory of your personal property is always a good idea and makes filing a claim much easier. 
  • Submit all required paperwork: Your insurer will need a variety of paperwork to process your claim. This can include receipts and documentation of the damage to your home and personal property. They may also want to see documentation regarding the age of your roof or when you last had your HVAC system inspected. 

If there are medical or legal issues involved in your claim you may need to provide medical records or legal bills. The quicker you provide this information, the faster your claim will be processed.  

  • Stay in touch with adjuster: You should attempt to respond to any questions or requests that your adjuster has in a timely manner which will ensure your claim is handled as quickly as possible. You should follow up with your adjuster if you have not heard from them, talking to them once a week is always a good idea until your claim has been paid. 

How much does a home adjuster cost?

In almost all cases there is no charge for an insurance adjuster, they are employees of your insurance company, so they are paid by your insurer. However, if you are not happy with the claim payout amount it is possible to hire an independent adjuster.

If you end up having to hire an independent home insurance adjuster, be aware they do charge a fee. While it varies by adjuster, in most cases, they charge a percentage of the claim amount which can range between 10% and 15%. They will work to get the largest settlement possible, but it does come with a hefty fee.

You can dispute an insurance claim

If you are unhappy with the payout amount for your claim or your insurance company denied your claim it is possible to dispute the amount or the rejection. 

Your first step should be to contact your adjuster and ask for a detailed, written breakdown that explains how they arrived at the offered amount. You can make a counteroffer to your adjuster, but you will need to provide documentation that backs up your requested amount. If your insurer refuses to budge off their offer, you may have to consider hiring an independent adjuster. 

An independent adjuster has experience negotiating with insurance companies and can help build a case for a larger payout. However, it is always important to remember that independent adjusters come with a fee so make sure their fee doesn’t dig too deep into your claim payout. 

Helpful Article: The Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Home Insurance Claim

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