What is a public adjuster?
A public adjuster is an individual who represents the policyholder to help facilitate a fair insurance claim settlement between an insured and an insurance company. Public adjusters are knowledgeable about the insurance policies in ways that will assist you in getting paid where the insurance company would not want to pay. Public adjusters are hired by homeowners, condominium associations and business owners. Their main job is to negotiate the best possible claim settlement. Most policyholders do not understand what they are entitled to under their policy. An example would be continuous damage or progressive injury damage. This example alone is not language that is plainly written in the policy; however any good public insurance adjuster that knows what he is doing will be able to use this example to greatly substantiate the settlement recovery. Insurance policies are worded in a very technical manner and a public insurance adjuster is usually a highly-trained individual who understands these policies. Most homeowners or business owners are not going to be able to understand the majority of the complex policy language and what they are entitled to.
When do I need to hire public adjuster?
You should hire a public adjuster right away, even before contacting the insurance company. The reason being, a public adjuster is going to protect your interests from the start. You may not understand the limitation of your policy and what you are entitled to. We have seen insurance company adjusters guide our clients into saying things that aren't necessarily what happened, or were not the exact events that occurred in a loss, thus the insurance company denies the claim. We also assist in the preservation and documentation of damage and items that may get lost in the claims process. These items, including lack of documenting, will prove to be very costly in the end and could even be more than the public adjuster’s fee.
Should I hire a public adjuster?
When disaster strikes having a trained expert on your side is a no brainer. Remember that the insurance company is going to send out their own insurance claims adjuster. Doesn’t that seem like a conflict of interest? Well it is. They do this to assess the damage and either delay the claim so long that you will need an insurance claims adjuster, or make some sort of small low ball offer and hope the claim goes away, or worse deny a perfectly covered loss and tell you, “too bad!” All of these scenarios are happening on almost every claim. This provides the insurance company with the advantage in the process because most policyholders don't even know what a public adjuster is.
What does a public adjuster do?
A public adjuster inspects the loss site, analyzes the damages, assembles claim support data, reviews the insured's coverage, determines current replacement costs and exclusively serves the client, not the insurance company. A public adjuster will submit all the documentation needed in order to justify a payment that will put you back into your house or business, the way it was before the loss occurred. A public adjuster will communicate with the claims adjuster from the insurance company about the loss specifically, when you have a public adjuster negotiating on your behalf, statistics show you are going to receive a much larger insurance settlement.
How does a public adjuster get paid?
The standard fee for public adjusting services is a small percentage of the amount recovered from the insurance company. State insurance departments license national public adjusters and regulate fees. On very large claims, fees are negotiable. The cost for appraisal is typically a time and expense, but we have also seen it as a small percentage of the recovery. Only in the State of Louisiana does a claims adjuster get paid a flat fee, whether a recovery is made or not.
Who are the most reputable public adjusters?
Make sure the public adjuster you hire has owned and operated a company longer than 5+ years. Also, make sure the firm is a member of NAPIA - the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. If they are not members, keep looking. NAPIA's national public adjusters are held to the highest standards in the industry.
Make sure the claims adjuster you’re using is well-versed and has the knowledge about what is covered and what is not. Not every public adjuster has worked all types of claims.