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What Does a Public Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?

After you file a claim, you might not feel satisfied with the result. A public adjuster can help you negotiate a better settlement.

Public insurance claim adjuster at house

If you’ve filed an insurance claim and your insurance provider has denied it or made an unsatisfactory settlement offer, you have options. Public insurance adjusters are available to help you through the difficult claim process and fight on your behalf for a better claim. This article will discuss:

Types of Claims Adjuster

First, let’s cover the different types of adjusters you may encounter during the claims process.

Company Adjuster

When you file a home insurance claim, your insurer can send their own claims adjuster to assess the damage. Your insurance company will then use their adjuster’s findings to decide if they will approve your claim and for how much. These adjusters are employed by the insurance company.

Independent Adjuster

An independent adjuster is hired on a contract basis to handle claims for home insurance companies. These adjusters are usually freelancers.

Public Claims Insurance Adjusters

Public adjusters are similar to independent adjusters, but they're hired by the policyholders instead of the insurance company. Public adjusters are available to help you though all parts of disputing a claim when you aren’t happy with your home insurer’s settlement offer.

Benefits of a Public Claim Adjuster

A public claims adjuster works on your behalf to get a better settlement when you file an insurance claim. A public adjuster is an independent contractor that works for you. They can advocate on your behalf for a better settlement and act as an advisor for you.

A good public insurance adjuster will look for ways to get you the best settlement possible. Here’s how they do that:

  • Policy talk : Public adjusters help you dig deep into your policy to find what is and isn’t covered. Understanding the fine print of your policy is the first step towards getting a good settlement.
  • Property inspection : Your public adjuster can spot the flaws, subtle damages, and other problems that you might miss. They can help you prepare a thorough damage report to get the most out of your claim dispute.
  • Liaison : There’s a lot of back and forth talks that are going to happen during a claims dispute. This can take up a lot of time. Your claims adjuster understands how an insurance dispute works. They can deal with your insurance so you can focus on other things that need to get done.
  • Estimate : A good public adjuster can get you informed repair estimates necessary to your dispute.
  • Negotiate : Negotiation is part of the claim dispute process. Having a public adjuster who knows how to fight for a good offer can mediate with your insurer. This takes the stress off you.
  • Documentation : Insurance claim disputes involve receipts, repair estimates, dwelling scopes of loss, and damage reports. That’s a fraction of the paperwork that needs to be dealt with. Your public insurance adjuster will handle that mountain, so you don’t have to.
  • Referrals : When you have home or auto damages, you’ll need a reputable professional to deal with repairs. A good insurance adjuster will have a network of contractors they know. This can save you time searching for a good one. Accessing your adjuster’s network also helps you avoid contractor scams.

Should I Use a Public Insurance Adjuster?

You should only call a public adjuster if you’re positive your claim wasn’t handled fairly. If your home insurer offers a subpar settlement offer or lowballs the estimate, that’s the time to call a public adjuster. If you hire a public adjuster without good cause to dispute your claim, you may lose more money.

Before you hire one, most adjusters will give a free assessment. If they think you have a viable case, they will make themselves available. However, it’s important that you choose from a pool of licensed, reputable adjusters to use. You don’t want to give your money to someone pulling a scam.

If the disputed amount is small, you probably don’t need to call an adjuster at all. It has been suggested by experts that you don’t need to bring an adjuster in unless your claim is over $10,000.

How to Find the Right Public Adjuster

Having your insurance claim dispute done right means finding the best public adjuster you can. Beware of adjuster scams, particularly after a natural disaster. Between inflated costs, uncertified personnel, and fraudulent behavior, you need to be aware of the threat.

Thoroughly vetting any potential adjuster is vital. There are steps you can take to help make sure you’re getting a good adjuster:

  • Any adjuster you’re considering should have the proper paperwork and certification. The NAPIA directory is an excellent resource to find a certified adjuster. This is especially important if you’re looking for an adjuster after a national disaster. Post-disaster adjuster scams are such a prevalent problem that FEMA sends out notices to alert people.
  • Ask Your potential insurer if they can provide references. See if they’ve handled disputes like yours before. Verify with past clients of theirs that the adjusters work is satisfactory. If the adjuster can’t provide references, that’s a red flag.
  • Make sure the adjuster you’re dealing with is the one who will handle your claim dispute. Some companies will send one adjuster to do the inspection, then another less experienced adjuster to do the heavy work.
  • Where is the claims adjuster based out of? An adjuster near you will likely know more about local laws, plus will probably have a network of local contractors for repairs. Make sure the adjuster has all the required local certification and licensure.
  • Ask what their workload currently looks like. Many adjusters deal with more than one claim at once. They may not have enough time to deal with you dispute correctly.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with your adjuster. You will be spending a lot of time with them, and they will be in your home a lot. You’ll want to have a good relationship with them.

How Much Does A Public Adjuster Cost?

Most adjusters will charge a percentage of your claim total, usually between five to fifteen percent. This means that if your adjuster agrees to a ten percent fee and helps you negotiate a $5,000 settlement, their payout is $500. It is possible to negotiate the fee with your insurance adjuster.

Also, you may only be disputing a portion of your claim. For example, you may be fine with your home insurer’s offer for dwelling damage but are dissatisfied with the personal property claim offer. You can hire an adjuster to only represent you for the personal property claim. This way, the adjuster won’t be entitled to what you get for the dwelling claim.

Some states cap adjuster’s fee. This is done to stop adjusters from artificially inflating claims to earn higher payouts for themselves. This shouldn’t be an issue if you hire a licensed appraiser with good references.

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