Your home is perhaps one of the most valuable investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Homeowner’s insurance protects that asset and provides payouts if catastrophic circumstances damage your home. If you need to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, the insurance company will provide an adjuster.
However, adjusters who work for your insurance company also work in that company’s best interest. If you feel that the insurance adjuster has not assessed your situation fairly, or if you’re unhappy with the payout amount, consider working with a public adjuster instead. Americlaims has compiled a convenient guide on everything you need to know about public adjusting services to educate you further on what we do and how we can help.
What Is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster’s job is just like that of an insurance company adjuster. If your home gets damaged and you need to file a claim with your insurance company, an adjuster will guide you through the process.
Much like an insurance claims adjuster, a public adjuster will closely examine the nature of your property damage and determine the extent and the value of the repairs you’ll need. The primary difference between a claims adjuster and a public adjuster is their loyalty: a claims adjuster works for the insurance company, but a public adjuster works for you.
Good To Know:
Because claims adjusters work for your insurance company, they want to get you to accept the lowest payout possible. Meanwhile, public adjusters are often more thorough in their examinations and calculations because they want you to get fair compensation.
What Can a Public Adjuster Do for Me?
Has your home been severely damaged by a natural disaster, vandalism, burglary, or another calamity? As you file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, they will likely assign you a claims adjuster—but you can always hire a public adjuster independently.
A public adjuster will assist you with your claim in the following ways:
- Going over your insurance policy with you and filing all appropriate documents for your claim.
- Evaluating the extent of the damage to your home and identifying repair needs.
- Estimating the time and money it will take to restore your home to its previous condition.
- Acting as a go-between for you, your insurance company, and any third parties or witnesses.
- Negotiating a fair and adequate payout from your insurance company.
Should I Hire a Public Adjuster?
The decision to hire a public adjuster or stick with the insurance company’s claims adjuster is yours to make. Many homeowners feel that the expense associated with public insurance adjustment services is worth it, as a public adjuster can help them secure a larger settlement. Filing an insurance claim for a damaged home is also highly stressful for many homeowners, and a public adjuster can help reduce that stress.
Do any of the following apply to your current circumstances? A public adjuster could be right for you.
- The damage to your home is severe and extensive.
- You’ve had bad experiences with claims adjusters in the past.
- Corresponding with your insurance company stresses you out.
- You are unsatisfied with the claims adjuster’s assessment of the damage.
- You’ve never handled an insurance claim before and need extra guidance.
- You feel that your insurance company’s settlement offer is too low.
Working with a public adjuster can grant you valuable peace of mind during a hectic and complex claims process. A public insurance adjuster’s loyalties lie with you, so they’ll be particularly thorough in looking for damage and negotiating a fair settlement with your insurance company. And because public adjusters get paid a percentage of your settlement payout for their services, they’re doubly motivated to ensure that that payout is adequate.
When Don’t I Need a Public Adjuster?
While public insurance adjusters are a valuable asset to homeowners who have experienced catastrophic property damage and loss, they’re not the perfect answer in every situation. Remember that your adjuster receives a percentage of your settlement as payment for their services. If your claim is small and straightforward, the service may not be of as much value to you.
For example, if your guest bathroom’s toilet overflows and causes moderate damage to that bathroom alone, you will likely be able to handle the claim yourself. But if an unattended candle in that bathroom causes a fire that spreads to different areas of your home, a public adjuster can help you assess and quantify that damage.
Questions To Ask Your Public Adjuster
If you’ve opted to work with a public adjuster on your insurance claim, interview your top choices before making a final decision. Here are a few helpful questions to ask that can help you decide between adjusters:
Are You Licensed To Practice in My State?
Make sure you’re hiring a licensed public adjuster to handle your claim. They may be licensed individually or affiliated with a larger firm like Americlaims.
Have You Handled Many Other Claims in This Area?
If a natural disaster has hit your neighborhood, your public adjuster may also be handling some of your neighbors’ claims. This can speak to their credibility and reliability. However, if the adjuster has taken on more claims at once than they can handle, your claim may not get the individual attention required.
What Is Your Contingency Fee?
Ensure you’re budgeting to pay your adjuster from your settlement when all is said and done. Many public adjusters’ contingency fees range between five and 20 percent of your payout; get that number in writing before you begin the claims process.
Do You Have References From Satisfied Clients?
Positive reviews from past clients bode well for your claim. Ask your public adjuster for a list of at least three former claimants who had a good experience working with them.
If you’ve recently experienced catastrophic damage to your home, you’ve got a complex claims process ahead of you—but luckily, you’re not alone. Public adjusting services are designed to help homeowners like you through the process of putting your life back together.
The adjusters at Americlaims will handle your claim from start to finish and work hard to secure a fair settlement. Use this guide to everything you need to know about public insurance adjusters to help you decide how to proceed with your claim.