When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company provides you with an adjuster at no cost. This person will assess the damages in order to compromise with you on your final monetary settlement. The insurance claim process can get tricky if you’re not in tune with how it works. Having a professional on your side can prove to be very beneficial, but do you really need one?
It’s never too late to hire a public adjuster. You can bring them in from the start or hire them as a second opinion. According to Adjusters International, public adjusters will help you:
- Evaluate the total loss, including building damage, contents, business interruption, and additional expenses
- Review your policy to identify the all aspects of coverage that could be applied to your claim
- Present the claim to your insurance carrier
- Negotiate with the insurance carrier on your behalf
- Settle the claim quickly and efficiently for the maximum amount you are entitled to
Public adjusters are experts in the area. Having someone that can 1) better assess the cost of the damage than you can and 2) interpret your policy more clearly than you can, is a great asset to have when you’re already struggling.
The Noble Public Adjusting Group has worked to identify both the pros and the cons of using a public adjuster in order to help you make an educated decision as to how involved you want to get into the claim. The pros they identified are as follows:
- Strict standards and vast range of knowledge: if anyone is going to be able to answer your questions about insurance claims, it’s going to be a public adjuster. They have to be licensed, bonded, background checked, and go through training in order to practice the profession.
- You have an advocate: Even if you end up getting the settlement you wanted in the first place, working with insurance companies is no walk in the park. Hiring a public adjuster can alleviate some of this stress by having them do the talking for you. Having this third party involved in the negotiations can keep things lighter and help you get the end result you need.
- Reach a higher settlement: The Florida OPPAGA reported than those who used a public adjuster received claims that were 747% larger than the payout they would have received without using a public adjuster
The cons of using a public adjuster as identified by The Noble Public Adjusting Group includes:
- Some only handle major claims: Some public adjusters won’t work with you if the claim is going to end up being small. You should sit down with companies like Excel Adjusters, who will take your business regardless of the size of the claim if yours in on the lower side. They will also offer free consultations and guidance to the claim.
- The percentage of settlement: The way that you pay most public adjusters is through a percentage of your final settlement. You can look at this from two angles. You will be losing a portion of the money that’s supposed to be being put towards fixing your home, but being paid by means of percentage makes adjusters work even harder to make sure your payout is maximized.
- The process takes time: Typically, claims that are filed by public adjusters are simple and move much faster than if you were to handle the claim on your own. If however, things are to go further than the original claim, the process gets lengthier. Claims could end up in court, which can take more time to come to a settlement than would be desired.
Just like anything, there are tradeoffs to hiring a public adjuster. Everyone wants to maximize your payout, but do you want to risk paying a percentage of the payout to a third party? Sometimes the process is simply not worth the headache, and if you can afford it, a public adjuster might be the best move to make.