If a disaster, such as a fire, flood, or tornado damaged your home or business, you might feel overwhelmed and not sure what to do. So if your homeowner’s or property insurance company sent out an adjuster to assess the damage, you would probably feel relieved.
However, it’s very important to consider the type of adjuster who decides how much you should receive to repair or rebuild your home or business. Did you know that you can also have a public adjuster evaluate and document your property loss? A public adjuster is independent, licensed by the state, and works on behalf of a policyholder – rather than the insurance company.
Why should you consider a public adjuster?
It can make a big difference in how much your insurer pays you in a settlement, especially if you suffer a major loss involving a large amount of money. This is because an insurance company adjuster is representing the interests of the insurance company and, in some cases, you may not get the full amount you’re entitled to as a result of your loss.
You may end up working with several insurance company adjusters during the claims process. This can result in getting conflicting information or different settlement offers. The insurance company might assign you an adjuster who doesn’t have much experience with handling claims or isn’t diligent in responding to your questions and requests.
In contrast, a public adjuster can help you negotiate a fair settlement so you can get back on your feet. They’re experienced in working with insurance companies in each step of the claims and settlement process so they can also help you get compensated more quickly.
A public adjuster can help you:
- Examine your home or business to see what was damaged.
- Gather information to support a claim. This includes making a detailed list or inventory of what was damaged or destroyed in your loss to make sure you’re not overlooking anything when you file a claim.
- Review your insurance policy to see what’s covered and excluded. An insurance policy is a very technical document that can be difficult to understand. A public adjuster is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to analyzing a policy so he or she can make sure your claim complies with all of the policy’s terms.
- Calculate what it would actually cost to repair or replace a structure.
A public adjuster usually charges a fee that’s a percentage of your insurance settlement in exchange for helping you file a claim and working with your insurance company. It generally averages from 5% to 12% of a settlement.
Here are a few tips to help you choose an adjuster:
- Check the references and qualifications of a public adjuster to make sure they’re right for you. You can do this by contacting the Better Business Bureau or your state’s insurance department.
- Ask friends, family, and professional contacts to recommend a public adjuster.
- Don’t feel pressured to sign a contract if you’re not comfortable with the terms or you want a second opinion from another adjuster.