The only professionals who work on behalf of policyholders are public insurance adjusters. Private insurance adjusters are hired by both individuals and businesses who are unable to file a claim on their own or feel the claim amount offered by the insurance company is incorrect.
They can file and negotiate claims for damage caused by flood, fire, smoke, wind, and hurricanes, as well as damages caused by other perils. Property losses might also result in other types of losses, such as business income, which a public adjuster near me can evaluate.
What a Public Adjuster Near Me Can Do For You
Adjusters specialize in filing and adjusting claims as well as knowing the details and language of insurance policies. Often, a property loss evaluator has construction or other related experience and uses sophisticated software to perform an independent assessment of a client’s loss. It is their job to log and submit initial and supplemental claims for policyholders.
Additionally, they help clients negotiate with contractors and their insurers. While having an adjuster throughout the process protects the policyholder from any pitfalls due to inexperience, it is a laborious process that is labored by the adjuster.
Public vs Company and Independent Adjusters
Insurance adjusters fall into three main categories, and each is employed by a different organization. Adjusters are employed by insurance companies, businesses, and individuals to evaluate property losses and determine how much should be paid out. The insurance industry has three distinct types of adjusters: company adjusters, independent adjusters, and public adjusters.
Insurers send adjusters to evaluate claims filed by policyholders on behalf of their companies. Insurance companies also hire independent adjusters as consultants. Typically, independent adjusters are hired as needed due to a surge in demand or to fulfill a specific need.
Should I Use a Public Adjuster Near Me?
Consider hiring a public adjuster if you intend to file a property insurance claim, especially if the claim is for a large amount. Public adjusters often provide free visits to a property loss to help policyholders determine the extent of damage and whether an insurance claim should be filed.
Getting a second opinion on a costly event like a home insurance claim is good practice, even if the policyholder believes the dollar value of their loss is accurate. Often, adjusters find that their loss estimates are far below what should be when they visit a home or business. Since public adjusters are professionals, it’s unlikely they will leave out costs in their calculations that a policyholder might forget or not be aware of. For instance, if a part of a roof is destroyed by wind, a homeowner might miscalculate the cost of a new roof and overlook the cost of removing the damaged roof entirely.
In order to get the right amount of money from an insurance company to cover a property loss, submit an accurate, detailed claim. Regardless of how good a homeowners insurance company is, it will never voluntarily pay more than is required. It is important for policyholders to be aware that they are claiming the correct amount, and a public adjuster can assist with that.
How Much Does a Public Adjuster Near Me Cost?
Several public adjusters do not charge a fee for visiting the site of a loss to determine whether they will work with a policyholder. There is, however, a charge for assisting a policyholder with filing a claim.
Public adjusters charge a percentage of what the policyholder’s insurance carrier ultimately pays. Imagine that an insurance company pays $100,000 for a claim filed by a policyholder with a 10% fee to an adjuster. This leaves the policyholder with a $10,000 bill from the public adjuster.
Fee percentages vary between adjusters and are usually capped by local or state law. In Florida, for instance, fees cannot exceed 20% of a reopened or supplemental claim. Furthermore, claims resulting from an event that the governor of Florida declares a state of emergency is subject to a 10% fee cap.
A public adjuster’s fee is also capped per claim. Fees for public adjusters with less experience might be capped at $5,000 per claim. Expert adjusters might cap their fees at much higher amounts, such as $10,000 or $15,000. In the case of a $350,000 claim, a public adjuster may charge $15,000 instead of their usual 20% fee of $70,000. For large claims, such as property losses exceeding $1 million, they may also negotiate a lower percentage fee.
How to Choose a Public Adjuster Near Me
A policyholder can take several steps to ensure they hire an experienced public adjuster. The first thing they should do is make sure the public adjuster is legally able to practice. In each state they practice in, a public adjuster near me is required to be licensed. To maintain their license, they must also be bonded and participate in continuing education courses. Do not work with anyone who offers claim adjustment services without a license, such as an attorney or contractor. It is against the law to practice without a license, and the license is an important indicator of knowledge and qualifications.
It is common practice for public adjustment firms to send one adjuster to provide an estimate and another to follow up and analyze the claim completely. It might be more convenient for a policyholder to work with one adjuster, but if the company sends more than one person, that might not be such a bad thing after all. Another public adjuster near me might be able to handle a claim better because they have a better experience with the type of damage involved. If one adjuster knows that their firm wants to work on your fire claim, another adjuster with the firm might have more experience with fire damages and handle your claim from there.
The best referral comes from an acquaintance who has already worked with an adjuster. Should none of your friends or family members be able to recommend a public adjuster, you may want to contact past clients of the firm under consideration. Verify that others have been satisfied with their services. You can also read online reviews of public adjusters.
Does Your Public Adjuster Have the Right Level of Experience?
If a claim is complicated and severe, a policyholder might want to seek the assistance of a more experienced public adjuster. What kinds of claims have they handled, and have they worked with your insurer in the past? Find out how long the public adjuster near me has been practicing and what types of claims they have handled. This information should be displayed on an adjuster’s website and, generally, more experienced adjusters charge more. A claim adjuster’s experience level is not based solely on the number of claims they handle each year or how many years they have been practicing. For example, an experienced adjuster might only take on a dozen claims per year, but only if they are taking on complex claims for high dollar amounts.
READ MORE: Finding Quality Adjusters
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