Public insurance adjusters are the professionals that help you with your claim after a loss. They may be able to settle for less than what it will cost to rebuild, or they may have suggestions on how to speed up the process of rebuilding. There are many different jobs and responsibilities associated with being a public adjuster, so finding one can seem daunting. In this post we’ll give you some tips on how to find a public insurance adjuster that is right for your needs.
##1. What is a Public Insurance Adjuster?
A public insurance adjuster is an individual that works for you, representing your best interest. They are not employed by the insurance company and they do not work for the insurance company’s loss department. There are public insurance adjusters who specialize in property damage claims (both commercial and residential), but there are some who handle different types of claims like auto, workers compensation, life/health, etc. The first thing you should look at is what type of claim you have had or expect to have. Then find an adjuster that specializes in those particular claims (i.e., if you had a house fire).
##2. What Does a Public Insurance Adjuster Do?
These professionals help owners file their claims and work with the insurance company to get them what they deserve. They often represent people after a disaster, especially those who have lost their homes or businesses. They help ensure that you don’t lose out on your claim and they can handle it for you so you do not need to go through the process of filing yourself.
Public adjusters negotiate with insurance companies to get as much money as possible back from your claim, which means that there is more money for you! Some public adjusters may be able to lower your premiums as well as settle claims quickly because of their negotiation skills. These professionals also know how the process works and can tell if an insurance company is trying to pay less than what they owe you. Sometimes negotiations take a few months, so to speed up the process you can have your own public insurance adjuster working for you!
Do I Need a Public Insurance Adjuster?
The decision is yours. If you are not pleased with the work that the insurance company has done to help you, then getting an independent adjuster could be advantageous. They will handle all negotiations and paperwork for you, which means less stress for you during this difficult time. Every situation is different though because every claim is different. Hiring an insurance adjuster may speed up or slow down your claim depending on where it was filed, what type of claim it is, how much negotiating power they have to get money out of the insurance company, etc. So before hiring someone make sure to ask them if their services are really needed. This is especially important if you have not had any problems with the insurance company so far and you believe they are working hard enough to get you what you deserve.
##3. How Do I Find a Public Insurance Adjuster?
Here are some steps you can take to find the right public insurance adjuster for your needs:
- Ask Around – One of the best ways to find an adjuster is through friends, family, or neighbors who may have already used one in the past. You should also seek referrals from your agent too! They may know someone that has helped others in similar situations to yours recently. An agent can vouch for their work ethics and how good they are at their job.
- Consult the BBB – Before you choose one, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had any complaints against them. You can also make sure that they are properly authorized by your state to do business. There is a fee associated with this, which will most likely be around $300 or more for each side (you and the insurance company). Some agents may help pay this fee for you due to their relationship with specific public adjusters, so ask your agent who might be able to do that for you! Remember that not every state allows public adjusters, but some states only allow certain types of people to become public adjusters too! Check with your state’s Department of Insurance website .
- Check with the Department of Insurance – You can find out if they are properly registered or licensed by calling your state’s Department of Insurance. If you want to make sure that an adjuster is authorized, you can call their main office and ask for this information.
- Ask About the Public Adjusters Fees – Most public adjusters take a percentage of what they recover for you as payment, but there may be some who do not require any fee at all up front! Asking about their fees will help you understand how much money you could get back from the insurance company after it has been settled. They usually charge 10% on an estimate settlement and 5% on the final payment so calculate accordingly what your best pay-out would be.
- Ask for an Estimate – If you are not sure of the damages that occurred during the storm or emergency, ask your public adjuster for a written estimate of what they can do to help you with your claim. They may even have pictures of certain things taken before and after the storm! Ask them questions about how they will be able to lower your premiums through negotiations, which could lower monthly bills as well as deductibles in the future.
- Do Your Own Research – By now you should know who is helping you with your insurance claims, so now it is time to do some homework on them! You want to make sure that they are experienced enough to give you good advice and help get more money back to you. This may require doing some internet searching and checking out review websites such as Yelp to read what other people have said about them. It’s also helpful to check with the BBB again, just in case there were any unresolved complaints or issues filed against them after you did your initial search.
- Understand What Your Public Adjuster Will be Doing for You – If you chose to hire a public adjuster, understand that they will help get money back from the insurance company by reducing the payout amount of your claim or delaying it completely until settlement negotiations are complete. They can negotiate lump sum payments versus monthly installments which could get you more money quicker than waiting every month for a check! A public adjuster cannot increase your premiums though. They write letters of appeal or disputes of claims, file lawsuits on your behalf and also help to deal with contractors.
- Get Documents Signed – It may be a good idea to get everything that you can about your claim signed by the insurance company before the public adjuster takes over for you. If they ask for a copy of a contract or letter that was written, give it to them without asking questions as long as it is going to help you get money back from the insurance company. A public adjuster has their own methods of getting things done so trust them but do not sign any blank documents!
- Look Out for Scams – Unfortunately there are some dishonest people out there who prey on those who have been affected by storms and natural disasters. Scammers may pretend to be a public adjuster and offer services for a fee but they do not have the right credentials. If you have been burned by one of these people, let your insurance company know ASAP so that they can help straighten everything out if possible!
- Keep Track of Your Claims – You never want to give your insurance claims information or documents away without making copies first in case anything goes wrong. That way you have it all on file in case there are any problems down the road with how you were treated by the adjuster or their team when trying to get money back from an insurance claim settlement. It’s also important to keep track of what has been said phone conversations just in case you need to call them out on making promises or not keeping their word.