How To Choose The Best Public Insurance Adjuster
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PUBLIC ADJUSTER

Common Sense Tips for Hiring the Best Public Adjuster for You

OK, so you’ve made the decision to hire a public insurance adjuster. Most likely, if you’ve experienced major damage (like fire or smoke damage) or been caught up in extensive damage from a windstorm, then you probably are being solicited by several public adjusters. Like any business, all adjusters are not created equal. They have different experience levels, handle different types of claims and have various levels of experience with different insurance carriers. Screening for adjusters that have experience handling your type of claim and most importantly that you are comfortable turning your claim over to should not be taken lightly. Always remember that you are the client and do not be intimidated by high pressure tactics or industry lingo. If you’re uncomfortable with someone, there is probably a good reason for it. So it’s just as important to trust your intuition.

Consider the following criteria when hiring a public insurance adjuster:

Make sure your public adjuster is experienced in his field and they have been adjusting claims for over a decade or more.

At no time should a public adjuster make any promises of what they can do for you before first reading and carefully reviewing your insurance policy as well as looking carefully at the loss. We need to meet you, see your loss, review your records (the policy among other things) before outlining a plan to get you back on track for a full recovery.

Make sure the public adjuster is licensed by the State where the loss occurred. Contractors or restoration companies posing as public adjusters who tell you they can adjust your claim or negotiate with your insurance company are committing a 3rd degree felony in most States. Just as a contractor cannot adjust your claim, a public adjuster cannot have a financial interest in your loss except for their approved public adjusting contract fee.

Beware of local contractors, roofers and remediation companies that offer to file your claim and then fix the damage, that is a 3rd degree felony. We have seen some serious abuse in this area over the years, especially after natural disasters. In some cases these company's contracts will require you to sign over your settlement check to them. Sometimes they will spend less fixing your property and pocket the rest or have you sign a release before the claim is completed, thus leaving you with damage that wasn't accounted for. In other cases we have seen overreaching and unconscionable bills run-up by restoration companies which the insurance company then refuses to pay because the policyholder alone signed the work authorization without authorization from the insurance company. This often results in a construction lien being placed against the property. In some cases, contractors offering to estimate the damages are practicing public adjusting without a license which is also against the law UPPA and they can be reported to us. Our only advice here is to be careful when hiring contractors, we can assist you in this area. Always maintain control of your settlement check and keep the estimating and repair parties separate. Read and understand any work authorization form presented to you before signing it.

Our Public Adjuster offering to handle your claim for a small percentage, typically 20% of course the type, size and complexity of the loss will impact the cost. Smaller losses tend to get charged a higher percentage because the adjuster needs to cover their time commitment and it can take just as much effort to settle a small loss as a larger loss. Most reputable adjusters charge 20% on smaller losses and closer to 10% on any large loss. Anything less should be a red flag that the adjuster will not put in the proper time or effort in handling your claim or that you don’t need an adjuster for this particular claim. Also be aware that in a declared state of emergency by an authorized government agency, public adjuster contracts are limited to the percentage that you can be charged, depending on the State.

Note how long your adjuster has been in the business. Insurance companies like working with a reputable and ethical public adjuster. It makes their job easier and gets the claim settled faster. It also makes the process easier and less stressful for you.

Having a professional public adjuster on your side is extremely valuable and key to the success of your claim. Your insurance carrier has their representatives and adjusters working for them. Shouldn’t you?

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