Many people describe their homeowners insurance claim experience as a full time job from all the paperwork to dealing with the Insurance Adjusters and follow up calls. You would think filing a claim should be simple enough but insurance is big business, and you the homeowner are not on a level playing field with a big insurance company.
A licensed Public Adjuster will be your representative and advocate in the process of getting your claim “adjusted” (processed) and “settled”, (paid). As with any professional, some Public Adjusters are better than others, and the last thing you need after you’ve suffered a major loss is extra problems. Do you should do your due diligence before you hire one.
We recently had a case that one of our adjusters were called to a home by the homeowner who had Hurricane damage to his roof as well as damage to the interior of his home. After talking to the homeowner and getting some more background to the situation we found out that the homeowner had already hired a public adjuster, but this adjuster filed the claim as a water damage loss as opposed to a hurricane damage loss. This differentiation is huge and ultimately the homeowner will lose out tremendously. This is why it is extremely important to do your due diligence to ensure you have the right adjuster for your claim.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Public Adjuster
1. Are you licensed and bonded to practice public adjusting in my state? Make sure you are hiring a licensed Public Adjuster. You can always ask to see their Public Adjusting license number. More and more often we are seeing ”loss consultants” trying to offer help to homeowners , the majority of the time these ”loss consultants” do not have your best interest in mind and are just in it to try and make a quick buck. Additionally if something goes wrong between you and the loss consultant you don’t have much recourse as their licence / bond is not on the line.
2. Will you be handling my claim personally? You want to make sure that your Public Adjuster is handling the claim themselves and is not simply a ”loss consultant looking to pass it on to another adjuster/company or attorney.
3. Ask for references. Ask the Public Adjuster for some references for claims that they have personally handled in the past. Adjusting on an insurance claim for your home is very personable and it will be very clear from references if the Public Adjuster does a good job or not.
4. Ask how they get paid Public Adjusters work on contingency fees that range from 10% to 20% of any money they recover for the insured. These fees are capped in some states and in the state of Florida its capped to 20%. If a Public Adjuster or ”loss consultant tries to charge you more or asks for a fee upfront this is illegal and you should report them to the DFS. You want to also have the conversation of how you are paying your adjuster whether it will be based off of ACV OR RCV, Content, or additional living expenses?
5. Do you work for a law firm If a ”loss consultant” wants you to sign a contract with an attorney straight off the bat you should know that the attorney will most likely be filing suit on your behalf. The vast majority of claims don’t need to be litigated on if they are handled correctly from the beginning. As Public Adjusters our job is to Adjust on the claim and make sure you are fully indemnified for your loss. If you need help with your Insurance claim ensure that it is a Licensed Public Adjuster.
A public adjuster has the fiduciary responsibility to always look out for your best interests.