you've suffered a loss, what now?
When & Why You Should Hire a Public Adjuster
A Public Adjuster (PA) works for individuals and businesses to evaluate property losses and assist in filing insurance claims. They are licensed professionals who work solely for the policyholder (the Insured) – not the insurance company. A policyholder’s insurance company will have their own adjuster and therefore it is advised to hire a public adjuster who will have a vested interest in the Insured’s needs alone.
What Is A Public Insurance Adjuster?
Public adjusters are property loss professionals whose primary objective is to advocate for the Insured. Individuals and businesses hire a PA when they need assistance properly collecting evidence of loss, preparing and submitting a claim or feel a claim amount offered by an insurance company is incorrect. However, most policyholders may not know that their claim settlements are negotiable. A public adjuster will help their client receive the policy benefits they are entitled.
Claims for flood, fire, smoke, wind and hurricane damage or other perils, are just some examples of the types of claims in which a PA can assist. Property losses specific to business enterprises might also include business interruption or loss of business income claims.
What A Public Adjuster Does For You
Public adjusters use industry standard practices, comprehensive software, and commonly have prior experience in construction or other related fields to assist clients in the recovery of a loss as well as compliance with the insurance policy. Due to their specialized knowledge and expertise, public adjusters will be better equipped than the average policyholder to estimate the total costs incurred from a property loss. Plus, they will know exactly how to log and submit initial and supplemental claims for a smoother claims process overall.
A properly executed claims process is incredibly detailed and remarkably time consuming. Every single damaged item must be cataloged including quantities and what it costs to replace, the policy fully reviewed and understood, and the claim submitted correctly to avoid disputes and hiccups that will postpone finalization. It is unlikely a policyholder would be able to complete the claims process accurately with a similar level of detail. Especially when a client may (and should) be more concerned with keeping the business afloat or relocating themselves or their family.
Public vs Company And Independent Adjusters
All property losses will require the expertise of an insurance adjuster to evaluate the total value of the loss and subsequently the dollar amount that should be paid by the insurance policy. Insurance companies have a duty to complete this process while business owners and individuals maintain the right to hire an additional adjuster. The inherent needs of each involved party result in three distinct types of insurance adjusters: company adjusters, independent adjusters and public adjusters.
Company Adjusters are employed by the insurance company and sent to evaluate claims filed by the policyholder. Independent Adjusters are hired by insurance companies to perform the same duties as a company adjuster. Public Adjusters are hired by the Insured and work exclusively for the Insured throughout the claims process.
Should I Use A Public Adjuster?
Anyone filing, or considering filing, a property claim should consult with a public adjuster about their loss. As a policyholder, it is wise to employ a qualified advocate familiar with the processes, language and practices to act specifically on behalf of the policyholder’s interests. Further, a public adjuster’s and a policyholder’s interests are intrinsically linked: what benefits the policyholder also benefits the adjuster.
It’s never a bad idea to seek out a second opinion. Initial loss estimates are frequently far below what they should be even when a policyholder is confident they are correct. For example, if part of a roof is destroyed in a storm, the home or business owner might calculate the cost of a new roof correctly but may not know to include the costs of removing the old roof. A public adjuster is a practiced professional who evaluates losses daily whereas a homeowner may only experience a scenario like this perhaps once, if at all, in their lifetime.
Additionally, it would be illogical for an insurance company to pay out more than an amount claimed: The true responsibility falls on the homeowner to provide and confirm the correct amount. By hiring a public adjuster, the homeowner acquires an individual typically far more capable of providing accurate numbers.
when Should I hire A Public Adjuster?
Ideally, you should hire a public adjuster as soon as you suffer a loss. Many people often wait until they receive a low settlement back from the insurance company before realizing they may need help. For a claims process to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, it is best if the adjuster is part of your claim from the start.