It’s not always necessary to retain the services of a public adjuster. There are some instances where, for a variety of reasons, the services of a public adjustor are superfluous to the homeowner’s needs.
However, it usually does make sense to at least get a consultation from a public adjuster. Public adjusters are licensed by the Departments of Insurance to provide consumer advocacy. So it is often the case you will get a different and often “clearer” prospective of your loss and the claim process than by speaking to the insurance company’s adjuster. That way, the public adjuster can help to ensure that the homeowner is on the right track during the first days following the incident.
Keep in mind that shortly after a large-scale event such as a massive wildfire, public adjusters are incredibly busy helping homeowners. Don’t delay in contacting a public adjuster if you’ve been affected by such an event. Your Public Adjuster is forthright regarding their client capacity. It is incredibly important to understand this. It is not the intent of the public adjuster to turn away new clients. It is that they want to provide the best possible service and provide the full attention the claim requires. Availability is key.
Following are times when hiring a public adjuster may not be necessary:
You’ve Already Been Paid Out Limits From Your Insurer
If you’ve already received your final claims payout, you don’t need to hire a public adjuster. However, you do still need to obtain a full written valuation from your insurance company adjuster. In the event of a mass tort effort or an underused insured tax credit, this document will be essential to have.
If your policy doesn’t cover the incident, or you’re underinsured, you don’t need to hire a public adjuster. However, as above, it is still necessary to obtain and expect a full valuation from your insurance adjuster. This will help aid in the recovery of additional funds through a mass tort effort and/or allow for an underused insured tax credit.
Your Damages are Minimal
If you were lucky enough to have minimal damage, hiring a public adjuster may not be needed. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to get a claims payout of $150 to cover the loss of a garden shed and then have to pay a percentage of that to an adjuster. You must consider the monetary size of your loss and whether it makes sense to hire a Public Adjuster.
Since most adjusters have either a minimum loss size or fee requirement, you should factor this in accordingly. While they will almost always secure a better result than allowing the carrier to adjust the claim if your claim is monetarily small ($1.00 to $100,000.00) – you may end up with a moral victory but be financially compromised. In most cases, the fees public adjusters charge make financial sense if your claim is expected to reach over $200,000.00 for two main reasons;
1. Your expected or the insurance company’s expected financial loss is woefully understated.
2. At the $200,000.00 threshold, any good adjuster will be able to easily demonstrate a “Value Add” so that the increase in your net settlement will make it financially sound to employ an expert.
If you equate it to an attorney – almost any attorney can get you out of a traffic ticket. But the cost to have an attorney do it maybe $1,000.000. If the ticket is only $300.00, you win the moral victory at a financial loss. But if you have a $1,000,000.00 lawsuit, virtually everyone would consult with an attorney. If you did not, the risk would almost certainly outweigh the cost to pursue the guidance, advice, and probable retainer fees.
Any time you’ve suffered a loss, it’s important to evaluate your need for a public adjuster. Unless your situation falls under one of the conditions stated above, chances are you should at least consider hiring an adjuster. For more information about hiring a public adjuster, or to discuss your current situation, please contact us today.