What is a Public Adjuster?
If you have filed an insurance claim before, you are probably familiar with insurance adjusters. Insurance adjusters are employed by an insurance company, and their job is to represent the interests of that company and settle your claim at the same time.
Public adjusters, on the other hand, are people who are neither employed by nor affiliated with an insurance company, so they are able to represent you and your interests objectively through the insurance claims process.
All public adjusters must be licensed and bonded, and they attend continuing education courses to maintain their certification. Public adjusters are employed by the homeowner, so there are no conflicts of interest in the adjuster’s dealings with the insurance company. A higher settlement amount isn’t a guarantee when you use a public adjuster, but you will have a better chance of receiving the financial outcome you’d prefer.
The Claims Process
When disaster strikes, file an insurance claim as promptly as possible. Once the claim has been filed, your insurance provider will send an adjuster to your home. The adjuster will survey the damage and use that information to put together a settlement amount. The exact dollar amount of the proposed settlement will depend on the damage to your home as well as the specifics of your homeowners’ insurance policy.
If you’re trying to handle the claims process alone, you may feel pressured to accept the adjuster’s settlement on the spot. The good news is that if you decide to take this route, you can still engage the services of a public adjuster later on to ensure that your claim was handled fairly and correctly. If you need to have the claim reinvestigated, do so quickly; your policy will specify how much time you have to reopen a claim.
How Public Adjusters Help
Insurance policies and claims are complicated under normal circumstances; they become even more complex when the stress of a home disaster is added. Stating information incorrectly or failing to show proper documentation of the damage can result in your claim being denied.
Public adjusters help lessen the burden of putting your home back together after a disaster. They are experts at navigating the insurance claims process, and since handling homeowners’ insurance claims is their full-time job, public adjusters have the time to devote to pursuing your claim closely.
Keep in mind that public adjusters do not perform any of the restoration work your home may require, nor do they coordinate home service contractors. Your public adjuster will, however, handle all documentation related to your insurance claim, communicate with your insurance adjuster on your behalf, and take all the steps necessary to ensure that the settlement you receive is fair.