Many questions arise as to when a public adjuster should be brought into the property damage claims process…should they be involved from the beginning? Is it okay to bring them on in the middle of a claim? What about after a claim has been settled? We answer a few of these common questions:
Q. What is a Public Adjuster.
A public adjuster is an insurance professional who works on behalf of the policyholder to settle an insurance claim. They will help to:
- Valuate the complete and total loss, including building damage, contents, and business interruption.
- Review your policy and identify all aspects of coverage that apply to your claim.
- Present the claim to your insurance carrier on your behalf.
- Negotiate with the insurance carrier for a full and fair settlement.
- Settle the claim quickly and efficiently.
Q. My insurance claim is underway and I received an offer from my insurance company but I’m worried that the settlement amount is too low. Is it too late to hire a public adjuster?
It’s not too late to hire a Public Adjuster. Unfortunately it’s common for homeowners to try to handle property damage claims on their own. Just like you wouldn’t go to court without proper representation so to you really shouldn’t be filing an Insurance claim without someone to represent you. By hiring a Public Adjuster, you have an expert on your side with the experience needed to increase the settlement to the amount that you deserve.
Q. Can I hire an attorney to settle my Property Damage Insurance Claim?
Public adjusters are experts in determining the total scope and value of property damage and business interruption losses. When there’s a dispute with an insurance company regarding the amount of settlement you are entitled to a public adjuster is your best defense. Most damage claims are able to be settled without the need for legal representation. While a policyholder can turn to an attorney to help settle a claim, it’s not uncommon for a public adjuster to be hired by the attorney for their expertise in these areas. Your best bet is to hire a Public Adjuster who typically can close your claim out in 3-6 months while an attorney can take over a year to litigate on it.
Q. I hired a contractor to repair the damages to my property; can he or she help me settle my insurance claim, too?
While restoration contractors are an essential part of the recovery process, it’s illegal to help you with your insurance claim. These contractors may be experts in repairing your property yet they do not have the experience and knowledge needed to file claims on your behalf. If a restoration or contractor attempts to manage an insurance claim for you, it would be considered the Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting, which is against the law and can result in arrest and in the State Of Florida a third degree felony. Public adjusters are professionals who are licensed to work on behalf of the policyholder to settle property damage claims.
Q. My insurance company has an adjuster who is assigned to my claim – why can’t I just use him or her to help settle my claim?
There is one key difference between a Public Adjuster and the adjuster provided by an insurance company: A Public Adjuster works on your behalf and has your best interests in mind, while the insurance company’s adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company. The adjuster assigned to your claim is paid by your insurance company so it’s more then likely that this adjuster will be looking out for the company’s best interests and not yours. As a policyholder, it is your duty to prove to your insurance company the value of the damage to your home. By hiring a public adjuster, you will have a professional working on your behalf through every step of the process.
Q. My property damage claim was settled with my insurance company and I received check. However, now I am having more issues resulting from the initial damages. Is it too late to hire a public adjuster now?
It is not too late. Oftentimes there are supplemental damage claims that can be filed for things such as undiscovered water damage, or damage behind. Ideally, having a public adjuster on board as early as possible will help to identify these common problem areas and adjust the claim accordingly. The only condition to this is when the policyholder signs a release. A release is a document signed by the policyholder stating that you accept the amount your insurance carrier values your claim at and you cant go back and ask for more, thereby letting the insurance carrier off the hook for any additional payments on that particular claim.