A public insurance adjuster is a licensed professional that policyholders can hire to represent their best interests in a property insurance claim situation. Public insurance adjusters were created by their respective states to help level the playing field with the insurance carrier and provide the policyholder an expert advocate. The public adjuster helps manage the claim, make sure claim filing requirements are met and helps recover the amount a policyholder deserves under their insurance contract. Unlike the insurance adjuster sent out by the insurance company, the public adjuster works for you.
But when should you hire a public adjuster and what criteria should you use when deciding if you need a public adjuster to represent you in a property claim?
Hire the Adjuster at the Right Time
Like any situation, it’s always best to get professionals involved as early in the process as possible. But professional help does come with a cost and many policyholders make the decision to handle their claim themselves. Some are successful, but many become bogged down in the process and are never really sure they received the proper settlement amount. With insurance claims, a policyholder should beware they do not agree to or sign anything presented to them by their insurance carrier that they are not totally comfortable with.
Consider turning to a public insurance adjuster when one or more of the following conditions exist:
- You don’t have the time to deal with the demands of the insurance company. People already have full lives. They work and have family commitments and may not want to deal with the stress of trying to get a claim processed and paid.
- You don’t understand your policy. Insurance contracts can sometimes be confusing documents leaving individuals unsure of their coverage. Turning to your insurance agent for clarifications can sometimes help. But if you cannot understand your policy, consider asking a public adjuster like Tutwiler & Associates for help. Most reputable public adjusters will review your loss with no obligation.
- You don’t have the expertise. Filing an insurance claim (especially with extensive and complicated damages) can be daunting. Get help if you are confused and avoid mistakes that might affect your settlement.
- Your damage is extensive. Severe property damage creates a variety of complicated claims issues. Claims that you are due under your policy and certain types of damages can often be missed. Certain expenses may also be placed in the wrong claims categories. Identifying hidden structural damage, valuing your loss properly and accounting for possessions and valuables can impact the value of your claim.
- The insurance carrier is offering a quick payoff. Insurance company research shows that the quicker a policyholder gets paid-off the happier they are. Unfortunately, what appears to be great customer service can be sometimes be an attempt to get rid of a claim and get you to settle for less money due to the stress and desire to “get it over with.” Our only advice here is to take your time and make sure you are protected. You should not be rushed or forced to sign anything until you understand the true impact a claim can have.
- The insurance carrier appears to be delaying your claim. This often happens when major catastrophes create claims log-jams. In many cases we have seen insurance companies fly in adjusters from out of state who do not understand state law. In all states, insurance carriers are required to respond to you and process your claim in a specified time period. If you are getting the run-around, get help.
- The insurance carriers settlement offer appears to be inadequate based on your coverage. Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters and carriers do not always act in the best interest of their policyholders. They are in business to turn a profit and may value damages to your property differently than you. Or they may determine that you are not covered for some of the damage. Sometimes offers will not even approach the value of restoring the damaged property. This is where an expert who uses the same estimating software as the insurance carrier and understands insurance policy language can help.
- Your insurance claims adjuster is discouraging you from hiring a public insurance adjuster. Insurance claims representatives that are afraid to deal with a licensed professional may be a red flag. You should be the only one determining if hiring your own public adjuster makes sense and is worth the cost.
Most people that use an experienced public insurance such as Tutwiler & Associates will tell you the time saved, stress removed and peace of mind provided when working with an experienced public adjuster is well worth the fee.