Your Guide to Public Adjusters
Do you own a home, business or commercial property, and therefore carry the associated insurance policies in case disaster strikes?
If you own a home, commercial property or assets and you’ve recently experienced a property loss or significant disaster like fire & smoke damage or hurricane or even something less significant such as a hail damage roof or dented vehicles, then you have enough to handle in regard to resuming business operations and repairing or restoring your property.
Which is where a public adjuster or public insurance adjuster can be incredibly helpful.
What’s more, many property or business owners aren’t sure what a public adjuster or public claims adjusters are or exactly what they do until they need to hire one themselves.
You shouldn’t be one of them.
What is a Public Adjuster?
Also, people are under the false impression that the adjuster for the insurance company is their advocate, ensuring a full, fair value pay-out from an insurance claim.
Public Adjuster Definition
The question that most people ask is, what does a public adjuster do?
A public adjuster is an independent insurance professional who can be hired by a property owner or insurance policy holder in order to settle the value of their claim.
The public adjuster or public adjusting firm serves as an advocate for the policy holder and represents their interests to the insurance company.
They legally represent the policy holder during the insurance claim process, and they can handle the insurance claims adjuster and property damage claim from start to finish, with the goal of saving the insured party both money and time.
Public insurance adjusters often work with other residential and commercial roofing contractors to independently inspect property damage, provide quotes regarding things like roof repairs, and even have their own teams or contacts for contractors who can help out policyholders with getting fair and proper inspections and even repairing or restoring your property.
Residential & commercial insurance policies can be extremely complicated and making a claim can be a lengthy process; these things combine to make filing a claim overly complicated, especially for someone who’s already dealing with the stress of property damage, interruptions in business operations, business income, and more.
Why Would a Homeowner or Business Owner Hire a Public Claim Adjuster
This often happens at times when the policyholder is dealing with many other issues like rebuilding or repairing their property.
At times like these, a public adjuster can offer invaluable assistance, especially one with commercial expertise.
If you’ve never had to experience home insurance claim process on a property or other asset, you may be blissfully unaware that much of the time, insurance companies may not pay out a favorable claim.
In fact, they sometimes pay out the lowest settlement possible and they will use their own insurance appraiser when difficult circumstances that policyholders may be dealing with.
A Public Insurance Adjuster are on Your – and Your Company’s – Side
While it might seem like insurance exists to protect the policyholders’ assets (which is true), insurance companies also want to minimize their risks and potential claim payouts.
A public adjuster will negotiate policy on behalf of you and your company, bring in their own inspectors and contractors, and otherwise help you maximize the value of a claim and get on with your life and business.
Their expertise in the complexity of insurance claims and attention to detail can make all the difference in the payout for a property owner.
And the difference in getting your business or life back up and running.
And if you’ve had to call on one after a major disaster or experiencing significant property damage, you’ll understand why it may be necessary to hire a public adjuster.
And public adjusters don’t work alone.
Public adjusters tend to have or develop contacts in the various construction fields and similar industries, so they can help their clients find professionals with the expertise they need.
They also have a network of inspectors who focus on different specialized issues that they can call on depending on what happened to your property.
This means that you won’t have to source contractors and other experts yourself – saving you a great deal of time and stress.
When you work with a public adjuster, you get an expert – along with their team of experienced professionals – who makes it their personal business to ensure that you get the maximum settlement that you deserve.
Specialized Insurance and Property Claim Expertise
And depending on your industry or type of property that you own, you may require a public adjuster who focuses on that particular area.
When you experience significant property damage or even a major disaster, you’re likely stressed out and have more than enough to deal with without the added complications of ensuring that you’ve filed your property insurance claim correctly.
Moreover, a public adjuster can rely on their own team of public adjusting experts to assess your property for hidden losses or problems that you or your insurance company’s private adjuster might have missed.
And naturally, the insurance company’s adjusters work for the insurance company to begin with, so they may have the same motivation to do their due diligence.
Public adjusters are there to make sure that you experience a complete recovery after experiencing property damage and that your insurance company covers every applicable bit of damage to your property.
Speed Up the Claim Process and Get Back to Business
Once you’ve experienced a loss or property damage, there’s a limited window of time to file and negotiate an insurance claim and accept a settlement.
This is yet another reason to hire a public adjuster – they can help you file a claim quickly along with helping with any necessary inspections.
A public adjuster can even go back and help amend or renegotiate a claim.
Public adjusters can also make sure that your claim stays at the top of the list of your insurance company’s priorities instead of ending up at the bottom of the pile.
This is particularly important during a major natural disaster like a hurricane, wind damage and a tornado, or earthquake when the insurance companies may be overloaded and you may have had to have temporarily close your business or part of your business.
Your public adjuster will be your advocate and keep negotiating a settlement with the insurance claims adjuster.
What’s more, it’s likely that you are filing a roof insurance claim during a complicated and hectic time in your life post-disaster or major weather event.
This is why working with a public adjuster who operates during the same working business hours as the insurance company’s claims adjusters – the very same hours that may be the most inconvenient time for you to handle things.
Residential & Commercial Property Loss Insurance Claim Expertise
Chances are that you might not be too familiar with what a public adjuster does – until you actually need to engage one!
If you’ve never had to make property insurance claims or simply don’t know where to begin with the process, a public adjuster can help you handle everything from understanding your insurance policy and coverage to getting your damaged property inspected to the finer details of your actual claim.
After all, if you are unfamiliar with your policy and coverage, insurance companies can use that to their advantage.
A public adjuster will help prevent that.
Public adjuster insurance claims provide a more thorough investigation.
How Do Public Adjusters Get Paid?
If you’re a homeowner or commercial property owner, you’re probably wondering about the bottom line – what are the public adjuster fees?
Good news – they generally take a percentage of the total settlement, so there will be no upfront costs, plus the professional public adjuster you hire will enter into a partnership with you.
The amount that a public adjuster makes depends on a lot of different variables, from their location, the values of the claims they are working on, and the percentage they’ve negotiated for in your given case.
You may choose to work with a public adjuster for a variety of reasons.
The primary one is almost always the fact that of course you want to get a fair value for your insurance claim settlement.
Since insurance claims can be complex enough without dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster and property damage, you may want to hire someone with professional expertise to get a fair claim payout.
Another reason to work with a public adjuster is that the last thing you need is the added stress of trying to figure out your insurance policy and trying to work with your insurance company yourself.
This is doubly true if you are suffering from the loss of your place of business, home, office, storefront, manufacturing facility, or other property, and may be not be able to return to business as usual for some time.
It can be an emotionally difficult situation that can often be better handled by a more objective 3rd party like a pa with a public adjuster license who has experience in property loss expenses.
Finally, since working with a public adjuster doesn’t require cash up front, and this often easier for people to handle, especially after experiencing a significant loss.
Plus, the public adjuster will often be able to negotiate a higher payout than you could yourself, so the end results will be net positive or at least cost neutral for you – it’s a win-win situation for the public adjuster and the people who engage them.
Public Adjusters vs Insurance Company Adjusters – What’s the Difference?
The jobs performed by adjusters for the general public and insurance company adjuster is fairly similar in that both kinds of adjusters manage insurance claims in order to come to a settlement and eventual payout.
Of course, only one of them is in your corner.
Public adjusters are on the side of the insured party – you and your company – the party that is making the claim after a loss and want to maximize the payout for their clients, while insurance adjusters are on the side of the insurance company and generally want to pay out the lowest sum possible.
Insurance staff adjusters, insurance appraisers, or company adjusters have an obligation to do what’s best for the company.
Note that at times, insurance companies hire an independent adjuster on a contractual basis for specific types of complex claims.
These home insurance adjusters, while independent, still work for the insurance company and are usually paid a percentage of the claim as well.
But remember that an independent insurance adjuster may not be on your side in the same way that a public adjuster is – they still get paid by the insurance company.
How Public Adjusters Make Their Money
If you’re thinking of hiring a public adjuster, you should know how the profession generally works.
Many public adjusters are former insurance company adjusters go out on their own for many different reasons that go beyond the positive aspect of working for the little guy or the policyholder vs a big insurance company.
Although there is a lot to be said for that.
Most public adjusters are self-employed and they have a network of savvy professionals like inspectors and roofing contractors who can help them work out the details of your claim, and they have the motivation to do so quickly and effectively; after all, the higher your settlement, the more they make as well.
The Advantages of Working with a Public Adjuster, and Should I Use One?
There’s a possibility that an insurance company may consult an independent adjuster or contractor but that consultation won’t be legally binding, although it may affect the final settlement decision.
Know that once you’ve signed a contract with a public adjuster, your insurance company and insurance assessor must consult with your adjustor before settling your claim.
This gives you the freedom and peace of mind to handle your business and other aspects of your life while your public adjuster negotiates and settles on your behalf.
Your public adjuster will negotiate the details of the settlement and the amount of claim based on your policy and coverage.
Every insurance claim is made up of three different parts – the actual property damage, the cost of reconstruction or repairs, and policy language.
The last element – policy language – might be the most complicated (and public adjusters are often attorneys as well).
All of the aspects of an insurance claim are negotiable but the two most complex are usually policy language and helping you uncover all the things that might be worth a claim payout.
This could be the biggest benefit of hiring a public adjuster.
They can also go back and renegotiate in case of a discrepancy in a settlement or claim.
Finally, public adjusters make money based on their ability to increase the value of claims due to policy language, knowing how to apply the language, and other factors including working with other contractors to find all the property damage and the multiple ways to get paid to fix it.
That said, perhaps the best thing about working with public adjuster is they are on your side!
They are the advocate for the business owners and commercial property owners like you – the insurance consumer.
Public adjusters will work with all parties involved – their teams of experts to find all the damage, the insurance company to process your claim quickly and efficiently, and most importantly, you the policy holder.
Public Adjuster Near Me
Depending on where you live, we can help you find a local public adjuster that is qualified to help you handle your claim.
Contact us here to learn more.
And all of that is in order to maximize the value of your claim.
Most Commonly Asked Questions about Claims and Working with a Public Adjuster
Why Haven’t I Heard About Public Adjusters?
The adjuster, consultants, estimators, and engineers that work for the insurance company are also paid by the insurance company.
There is no one in that process advocating for you to ensure your claim is paid correctly and that every coverage you have paid for is tapped into.
A public adjuster protects your interests the way the insurance company adjuster represents the insurance company’s interests.
Isn’t the Insurance Company Looking Out for My Interests?
Your insurance policy requires you to present and prove your claim.
You must justify and detail every dollar that you expect the insurance company to pay.
It is not the responsibility of the insurance company’s adjuster to do this.
Large claims are complex; there are many ways to value property, and also many decisions as to what should be included in the claim.
The public adjuster assembles the claim from your vantage point, capturing every dollar possible.
The adjuster for the insurance company does not take this approach.
I Have an Insurance Adjuster, Why Do I Need a Public Adjuster?
Most attorneys and CPA’s are not specialists in this area.
Public Adjusters are often brought in by attorneys and CPA’s to provide the expertise required for policy interpretation and maximizing the dollar values of a claim.
Without a Public Adjuster involved, CPA’s and attorneys typically use the dollar values provided by the insurance companies.
I Have a CPA and an Attorney. Do I Still Need a Public Adjuster?
If you aren’t experienced in the intricacies of insurance policies, this could be very expensive “on the job” training!
For example, when most people go to court, they would find it unthinkable not to have an attorney present.
Most people have an accountant or CPA handle their tax matters.
Insurance claims are every bit as complex.
Quite often, not understanding the policy language completely, or not applying the coverage properly results in costly errors.
Why Shouldn’t I Handle the Insurance Claim Myself?
It takes a lot of research, inspection and documentation to be able to settle a property loss insurance claim.
If you have a lot of damage, it’s important you don’t receive the same standard settlement.
Why is it Better to Get a Public Adjuster Involved at the Beginning of the Claim Process?
Until a disaster happens, claim issues are not something a person would pay attention to.
Also, people are under the false impression that the adjuster for the insurance company is their advocate, ensuring a full, maximized pay-out from a claim.
That is why expert public adjusters are proactive in reaching out to offer needed services to people suffering a recent property loss.
Why Can’t I Wait for the Insurance Company to Make an Offer and See if there are Problems?
As much as they may want to help, they have no pull or control over the claims process.
Also, they will not do the physical inventory for you that is required.
They won’t be involved with the building estimate details, business interruption, insurance claims, or assigning dollar values in any way.
They have nothing to do with maximizing your claim.
Bottom line, when a public adjuster is involved, insurance companies pay a better value in claims.
My Insurance Adjuster Says I Don’t Need a Public Adjuster.
Insurance adjusters work on behalf of the insurance company, not you.
It would be in your best interest to hire an adjuster that works on your side.
I Have a Contractor, Why Do I Need a Public Adjuster?
Contractors are usually not experts in insurance claim settlement.
The public adjuster will help assist you in obtaining a fair settlement.
You may then use a contractor of your choice and spend the money as you choose.