If you’ve suffered a property loss to your home, it has undoubtedly caused you substantial stress and grief. Dealing with your insurance company should not compound your worries but, unfortunately, all too often a claim is mishandled and as the insured, you can be left feeling your insurer is not living up to its policy’s promises or is in bad faith. In that case, it may be time to consider hiring a public adjuster to assist you with your claim. When you seek the help of a public adjuster, there are three main points to keep in mind:
- The public adjuster works for you, the homeowner, not for the insurance company
- The public adjuster is paid a percentage of the claim recovered usually around 10 percent.
- Insurance settlements are consistenly larger when a public adjuster manages your claim.
What is a Public Adjuster?
Public adjusters are insurance claims experts who specialize in interpreting insurance policies so they can assist you in preparing and filing a claim that will result in a maximum insurance claim settlement. These professionals manage every detail of your claim and also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf until the claim is settled.
The PA immediately inspects your damage, puts together claim support data, reviews your coverage and determines current replacement costs. Just some of the losses a PA can help with include those related to flood, collapse, hurricane and wind damage, fire, explosion, smoke damage, and vandalism and theft.
Why Use a Public Adjuster?
Many people decide to hire a public adjuster for the simple reason that they don’t have the time to deal with the process themselves. A typical insurance policy contains hundreds of provisions, stipulations and endorsement, with complex details such as real estate appraisals and inventory evaluations that the insurance company requires in times of loss. Public adjusters are far more knowledgeable about the insurance business, including the fact that the burden of proof belongs with the homeowner.
The majority of insurance companies are reputable businesses, but the field adjuster handling your claim may be lacking. In that case, hiring a public adjuster who knows how to properly assess your damage may be your best bet.
Finding a Good Public Adjuster
Start your search at the website run by NAPIA, an organization that for over 60 years has advocated for public adjuster education along with a high standard of professional conduct and ethics. Public adjusters who are NAPIA members are integrity focused and committed to working in each client’s best interest.
What to Expect
A PA will thoroughly assess your loss and then help you get every bit of compensation you deserve from your insurance company. Keep your expectations realistic, and if you’ve hired the public adjuster after the claims process has already begun, anticipate that the results will probably be delayed for a month or more because your public adjuster will have to go over and renegotiate much of what was previously done.
Is it Worth It?
While there are no guarantees, studies have shown that homeowners who hire public adjusters tend to receive higher settlements than those who don’t, even when the public adjuster’s fee is factored in. Because a public adjuster will be paid a percentage of your payout, he or she will do their best to increase the amount of payment you are rightfully owed. What’s more difficult is putting a dollar figure on having someone take over the negotiations with your insurance company to manage your home insurance claim.