fbpx

[zynith-toc]

What is a public adjuster? Don’t wait to find out until you desperately need one. Doing a little research ahead of time could save you a lot in the long run.

No one likes to think about a scenario where their home or personal property is damaged by an unexpected disaster, such as a fire, tornado, pipe break, flood, or hurricane. Sadly, the hurricane season in Florida lasts five months out of the year. From June 1st to November 30th, the Sunshine State is susceptible to severe hurricane and weather damage. A broken pipe in your home does not define flood, which is a separate coverage.

And that’s just one type of disaster that can befall your home, often resulting in turmoil homeowners are unprepared for; financially or otherwise.

In the unfortunate circumstance where you’ve had to file an insurance claim for damage to your home, you’re going to want to make sure you have careful eyes on the claim to get the most help you can. This is where a public adjuster can help you.

You see, many things can happen during an insurance claim process that you might not expect, such as:

  • Your claim gets rejected
  • You and your insurance company can’t agree on the amount
  • Your claim gets dragged on far longer than it should be
  • You miss out on a proper claim due to a lack of knowledge

This is why you may want to hire a public adjuster. It could save you immense time, stress, and money.

Truck driving through Hurricane Ian Storm

What a public adjuster is not

To weigh your options accurately, you’ll want to understand what a public adjuster is not responsible for, and if you need to hire a different type of professional for your needs.

A public adjuster is not:

  • An insurance adjuster: An insurance adjuster is someone who works for your insurance company. A public adjuster will work for you, not the insurance company. Though, they both will inspect the claim, create the proposal for the repairs, and estimate the cost of repairs; they work for different people. Make sure you understand this difference when you need someone in your court on a claim.
  • An attorney: If an insurance claim is rejected, you could always bring it to an attorney. Though an attorney could also defend your claim legally if you brought it to them, hiring a public adjuster would definitely be a more cost-effective means of defending your claim. Hiring a public adjuster will typically get you much faster results too
  • A contractor: Though a contractor may be qualified to survey the home and estimate the cost of the repairs, they cannot handle insurance claims. Though, sometimes contractors can be brought in by an insurance adjuster for a second opinion if they are having difficulty assessing the damage to the home. A contractor is not legally licensed or authorized to settle claims with your insurance carrier.

Make sure you know which type of professional you need to hire for your specific situation. Should you find yourself in need of a public adjuster, here’s how to know if you’re hiring the right one for you.

Talking about the property damage assessment.

What qualifies an experienced, reliable public adjuster?

Not all public adjusters will be the same. As you’re searching for the right one, you’ll want to do a sufficient amount of research to get the best person to advocate on your behalf.

Don’t just select the first public adjuster that comes along or even the first one you find on Google. If you find someone you’re considering to be your public adjuster, make sure they:

  • Are licensed in the state of your claim: In Florida state law, a contractor or restoration company posing as a public insurance adjuster will face a 3rd-degree felony charge. A public adjuster will not have a financial interest in your loss, except for their contract fee percentage. For Florida residents, you can check if the adjuster is licensed in your state by going to The Florida Division of License Search
  • Can provide references: Your adjuster’s relationship with the insurance company can dramatically impact how your claim is handled. Make sure you speak to some references regarding claims similar to your own.
  • Has been in the business for a number of years: Around 2004-2005, the number of public adjusters in Florida nearly tripled due to the hurricanes at the time. Many of these people were looking to make some fast money from the abundance of claims filed. You should be confident that your adjuster has been in the business long enough to understand it thoroughly.
  • Doesn’t profit off of your claim’s extended timeline: Some insurance carriers and other insurance claims adjusters will use a “delay, deny, defend” tactic to extend your case. If this results in you having to spend more money to reach a settlement, this adjuster doesn’t have your best interest in mind. A reliable public adjuster won’t make any money off of defending a claim until your case is resolved.

A few simple research steps on your part could save you a huge amount of time, money, and stress resulting from hiring the wrong person. Most importantly, you should feel confident that your public adjuster ultimately benefits the most when you are given a fair settlement.

Florida Vacations

The difference between a public adjuster and an insurance adjuster

Like we touched on earlier, you’ll want to make sure that whoever you hire is actually working for you, not your insurance company. Understanding where the interests lie of the person involved can greatly impact the way your claim will go.

An insurance adjuster will:

  • Assess damage and come up with an estimated cost of repairs
  • Work with the insurance company to cover those claims
  • Ultimately works for the insurance company

A public adjuster will:

  • Assess damage and come up with an estimated cost of repairs
  • Work with the policyholder to ensure a fair claim is settled
  • Ultimately works for you and has the best interest of the homeowner and the public in mind

For straightforward, smaller claims (such as graffiti or chipped paint), it might not be worth hiring a public adjuster and the insurance company’s adjuster will do just fine. In the case of larger, more complex claims, it may be worth it to know that a public adjuster’s main responsibilities are to advocate on your behalf and get you a fair settlement.

Pros and cons of hiring a public adjuster

So let’s say you’ve gone through the trouble of filing on a larger or more complex insurance claim. You want to know what the pros and cons are of using a good public adjuster. Let’s take a look at what you can expect should you choose the public adjuster route.

Pros:

  • Compliance to high standards: Most states have high professional standards for public insurance adjusters. Certain skill standards must be complied with, and it takes many years of experience.
  • Passing of a background check: Public adjusters are also required to be bonded, fingerprinted, and passed on a background check.
  • Excellent negotiation skills: Often one of the most stressful things you can do during your time of loss is negotiate your settlement. Public adjusters often have excellent negotiation skills that allow you to not have to navigate the intricacies of your claim solo.
  • Chance of higher claim settlement amount: Oftentimes, homeowners will not have the knowledge to know they are entitled to more money than offered by the insurance company. Leaving this in the hands of a public adjuster can land you a higher claim amount.

Cons:

  • Often only do larger claims: Since their skills are often sought out for their knowledge and attention to detail, you might have a hard time finding a public adjuster willing to do smaller claims for you.
  • Their percentage of the settlement: Though many areas will not allow a public adjuster to charge more than 10% of a settlement, still expect to pay them some percentage of the claim.
  • The time it takes: While getting the right public adjuster will likely result in a speedier case, still expect it to take some time. Some insurance companies won’t talk to public adjusters at all, which will result in further delays.
Beautiful Florida homes on a canal.

What homeowners need to know

If you find yourself in the position of a lost or severely damaged home, the emotions and turmoil of such loss can make it difficult to navigate. Furthermore, many homeowners have little to no knowledge of insurance or how claims work.

In the case of severe damage, your insurance company may even send several company adjusters to assess different areas of damage. This puts you at a disadvantage, due to the possibility of oversight between multiple adjusters.

And of course, this is the last thing you’ll want to face should you find yourself living in a hotel or a family member’s home while you wait for your claim to be resolved.

Ultimately, the money and time that could be saved by hiring the right public adjuster to handle your case will be well worth it for you and your family. Just make sure you do your research ahead of time and properly vet your adjuster.

How to know if you’re hiring the right public adjuster

If you’ve found the right public adjuster for you and your claim, you should have full confidence that they are handling the claim personally and professionally.

To recap, a couple points to consider:

  • Your adjuster is a licensed professional in the state of your claim
  • They have been in the business for several years
  • They don’t stand to profit from dragging your claim out for an extended period of time
  • You feel confident that they have your best interest at heart

Have any questions about hiring a public adjuster? Feel free to email us at dependableresolutions@gmail.com. We’d be happy to discuss any of the points brought up in this blog post or other questions you have.

Like us on Facebook to stay up to date and ahead of the curve.