Everyone should understand that insurance companies aren’t always concerned with how much they must pay clients for property damage claims. They also have to obey the law, however, so they will frequently attempt to negotiate a settlement as inexpensively as possible. Despite the fact that this may be interpreted as a bad thing because you may not receive all of your claim money, it does give you the chance to hire a public adjuster. If you decide to use this opportunity and hire an adjuster, there are some things you should ask before putting anything in writing.
1- Do I Really Need A Public Adjuster?
This is an excellent question that everyone who has ever had to file a home or business insurance claim should ask themselves. A public adjuster works for you and therefore, they expect to get paid by you at the end of everything. Because of this fact and the fact that insurance companies are oftentimes trying to underpay customers, hiring a public adjuster is not always necessary.
If you feel like you can handle filing your claim with an insurance company yourself then perhaps it would be best to save some money and do so without a public adjusting service involved. However, if your claim does go beyond $10,000 than it might be better to hire someone who has experience in negotiating with large companies for their client’s benefit.
2- What is the role of a public adjuster?
A public adjuster is an insurance expert (licensed in most states) who negotiates with insurance companies on behalf of their policyholder clients to help them get the best possible settlement for their damage claims on their home or business. Insurance companies offer free “claims consultations” with policyholders, but after that point they typically do not want homeowners-turned-claimants contacting them directly without a third party present.
Most public adjusters try to let their policyholders know how important it is to have a third party, with an unbiased point of view, negotiating with the insurance company on their behalf. Public adjusters work on a commission basis and typically take a percentage of whatever compensation is received from the insurance company- so if you think there’s a chance you might be able to negotiate your claim yourself or through an independent agent, they may not be for you.
3- Is the company licensed within the state?
Make sure to do your research. This is by far the most important question you should ask yourself before hiring a public adjuster. If they aren’t licensed within the state, then they are not qualified for this job and have no legal standing to help you with your claim. It’s just that simple! You’ll find that many of them are actually not licensed or certified with the state, so know what you’re looking for here before getting any further.
4- How many other claims have you signed up in this area?
The best thing to do when sorting through different public adjusters is to ask how many claims they’ve registered in your area. The more claims that the local public adjuster has processed and closed, the better able they’ll be able to gauge potential costs and expectations for your claim.
If you’re looking for someone with a great deal of experience who can get you an excellent settlement, consider using a public adjuster who’s registered hundreds of claims in your area. If you’d like someone less experienced who will charge less, opt for a public adjuster with fewer (or no) cases in your zip code.
5- How long have you been operating as a Public Insurance Adjuster?
When trying to find the right insurance adjuster it helps to know how long they’ve been in business. A company that’s been around for a while might have some history, which is beneficial when it comes to building trust and knowing you’re working with someone who can deliver on their promises.
6- Who will be handling my claim?
Though many public adjusters work as a team of professionals, it’s best to find out the name of the individual who will actually be working on your file from start to finish. You’ll have more contact with this person so being able to communicate directly helps when trying to resolve issues or answer questions.
7- How much money should I expect to get back?
The process for filing a claim as well as negotiating a settlement can take some time (between 4 to 8 months). Public adjusters typically only charge a percentage of your final settlement amount instead of taking a fixed fee, which means they’re incentivized to get you the most money possible.
For example, if your policy covers $100,000 in damages and the public adjuster charges an 10% fee ($10,000), then he or she is only paid that percentage of whatever you end up getting back from the insurance company ($90,000).
The more money the public adjuster helps you make on your claim, the more money he or she makes at 10%.
8- If I hire your company, can I still communicate with the insurer/company adjuster?
You can, but you probably shouldn’t. Your insurance company and your public adjuster should be the only two people who communicate about your claim.
9- What types of property insurance claims are handled?
Most adjusters handle both residential and commercial claims such as Water Damage, Hurricane, Fire, Vandalism and Theft, Lightning, Roof Leaks, Mold, Business Loss of Income, Watercraft, and planes.
These are just a few things worth asking before hiring a public insurance adjuster in your area for any type of property damage claims. With these guidelines in hand, finding the right person to help you through your insurance claim should be simple. Remember, the more questions you ask, the better prepared you’ll be for any situation!
We hope this article has been helpful to you in your search for a public adjuster. If you have any questions, feel free to email us and we will be happy to answer! Furthermore, if you are looking for a professional public adjuster or think American Premier Claims may be the right fit for your needs, give us a call at 844-313-3155
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