What Exactly Is a Public Adjuster and Why Would You Ever Need One?
Recently made a serious insurance claim? If you feel like your insurance rights may not be met, it’s time to hire a public adjuster. Learn more about them here
What if your insurance claim was doomed from the beginning?
When you make a serious insurance claim, you are largely at the mercy of the insurance company’s adjuster. And to be frank, that adjuster may get certain things wrong.
That’s where a public adjuster comes in. Such adjusters can seriously help your claim. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what public adjusters are and how they can help.
Wondering when you need a public adjuster and what they can do for you? Keep reading to discover the answer!
What Does An Insurance Adjuster Do?
In order to understand the role of public adjusters, you must first understand the general responsibilities of an insurance adjuster.
Generally speaking, an adjuster is someone who personally inspects insurance claims. If someone has a claim relating to damage their home has sustained, an adjuster will inspect and verify damage to determine how much insurance money should get paid out.
Most adjusters work on behalf of the insurance company. While this typically saves you money, the blunt truth is that such adjusters are likelier to make decisions that benefit the insurance company they work for.
What Is a Public Adjuster?
Public adjusters provide the same essential function as other adjusters. They help to determine how much insurance should be paid out relative to individual claims.
However, there is a key difference. Whereas most adjusters work directly for insurance companies, public adjusters work directly for the policyholders.
After making their own inspection, public adjusters will negotiate with your insurance company. Between their expertise and documentation, they can help ensure that you get the amount that you deserve.
Public adjusters are a great benefit when you file a claim. But do you need to hire a public adjuster every time you make a claim?
Do All Claims Need Public Adjusters?
Public adjusters sound really great. After all, who wouldn’t want an advocate when it comes to insurance claims? However, the truth is that not everyone needs public adjusters for all claims.
For example, if you are generally happy with the results of your claim, no public adjusters are necessary.
In this case, you’ve already achieved your goal.
Public adjusters are also largely unnecessary when the amount of damage involved is relatively small.
Because such adjusters cost extra, someone might end up paying enough for an adjuster that it wasn’t really worth it for a small insurance payout.
Who Needs A Public Adjuster?
Now you know that not all claims need public adjusters. How, then, can you tell if your own claim is one of them?
As we noted, the amount of damage involved is a powerful indicator. If your claim involves $10,000 or more of damage, then it’s worth your time and money to hire a public adjuster.
The complexity of the damage may also indicate the need for your own insurance adjuster. For example, if 2 or more major elements were damaged (say, both floors and walls), public adjusters are very beneficial.
Finally, it’s worth hiring an adjuster if you aren’t comfortable doing everything on your own. Individuals can always negotiate with the insurance company on their own behalf and at no additional cost. But those who are unable or unwilling to do so on their own should seek out public adjusters as advocates.
How Much Do They Cost?
Let’s say you’ve decided to use a public adjuster. That brings us to the big question: how much do they cost?
The exact amount that public adjusters charge can vary based on the adjuster and also on state regulations. Typically, the minimum charge is 10% of your insurance payout and the maximum charge is 15%.
Sadly, this fee is not covered by things like homeowner’s insurance. That means those considering hiring an insurance adjuster must determine if the benefits outweigh losing a portion of their eventual insurance payout.
What If I Change My Mind?
As you can tell, it is difficult to decide whether to hire an adjuster or not. And you’ll be learning more about insurance in general and your case in particular as time goes on.
That brings us to another simple question: what if you change your mind about the adjuster after hiring them?
Most of the time, it is not difficult to cancel any contracts you have made with public adjusters. The only trick is that you must do so in a relatively quick timeframe. For example, your state may require that any cancellations occur within 3 days of signing the contract.
To play it safe, make sure you understand all of the relevant rules and regulations before signing anything.
How to Find a Good Adjuster
Deciding to hire a public adjuster is already difficult enough. But how can you find a good adjuster when you need one?
You may be able to find reputable adjusters by visiting the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Alternatively, you can ask around your area and ask who is really reliable when it comes to claims service.
It’s always good to arrange an interview with prospective adjusters. This lets you pose very specific questions and also gauge how well they will be able to handle your case.
When to Send In the Lawyers
So far, we have focused on how public adjusters serve as your advocates to the insurance company. But there may be times when you need a legal advocate and not an insurance advocate.
If either you or your adjuster is unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you may need to hire legal counsel. This typically happens when you feel a certain amount is owed and the insurance company is refusing to pay that amount.
Don’t forget that lawyers and court cases can rack up some hefty costs. Make sure the case (and the payout) is worth it before you go down this route!
The Next Steps
Now you know when to hire a public adjuster for things like homeowner’s insurance claims. But do you know how to stay on top of all things real estate?
We bring you news about lifestyle, fashion, health, and so much more. To see how we keep homeowners in the loop, check out our Real Estate section today!