Maybe you’ve heard about hiring a public adjuster to help with the process of filing your insurance claim, but you don’t know where to start. That is where we come in. In this article, we are going to go over seven frequently asked questions about public adjusters and how it can benefit you to hire one.
What is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is a professional who helps policyholders (home and business owners) through the process of filing an insurance claim after they have suffered a loss. There are three types of adjusters that are licensed by the state of Florida:
1. Insurance Company Adjuster – This is the insurance adjuster employed by the insurance company who represents their interests in handling your claim.
2. Independent Adjuster – This is someone who is hired by the insurance company to represent them while working through your claim. Their responsibility, like that of the Insurance Company Adjuster, is to prioritize the interests of the Insurance Company.
3. Public Adjuster – This is the only type of insurance adjuster licensed in Florida whose responsibility is to protect your interests and not the insurance company during the process of a claim.
Why Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
Chances are, you have not had to file very many insurance claims in your life, especially not for a catastrophe involving your home. When you are dealing with the aftermath of damage to your home, the last thing you need to do is try and figure out how everything has to be documented and submitted to deal with your insurance company.
It is up to you to prove the value and extent of the loss you suffered to get reimbursed by your insurance company. A public adjuster can evaluate the site of the loss and find things you wouldn’t have thought to include in your claim that increases your payout, and they can make sure you satisfy all of the conditions of your policy in order to recover damages.
Even if you are the world’s most organized person and you have your loss thoroughly documented, the back and forth with your insurance company is a tedious process. A public adjuster will handle it for you.
Is a Public Adjuster Part of an Insurance Company?
No, as the name implies, a public adjuster works on the insurance claims on behalf of the insured public, they do not work for the insurance companies. However, many public adjusters were once insurance adjusters for the providers.
Can I Prepare My Claim on My Own?
You absolutely can, but you have to be prepared to fully and thoroughly document your loss, try to understand the terms of the policy you have with your insurance company, and follow up with the insurance agent.
You should consider hiring a public adjuster particularly if your claim is over ten thousand dollars, and damages from a loss pile up quickly. You could be leaving money on the table in the settlement and not even realize it.
What Do I Need to Consider When Hiring a Public Adjuster?
Make sure that their license is up to date and they have been in business for a while, and make sure they weren’t licensed after a recent disaster. Some public adjusters rush to capitalize on people who have suffered a loss.
Ask about their experience and training to make sure they are familiar with the kind of claim you want them to handle for you.
Don’t sign a blank contract. Have your prospective public adjuster go over their fees so you know what to expect going in.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the adjuster you select. You will be dealing with them for the duration of your claim, so it’s important to choose someone who you like talking to.
What is FAPIA?
FAPIA stands for “Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters” and they require any public adjusters belonging to their organization to uphold a strict code of ethics. These public adjusters have a wide network of resources to help you handle your insurance claim.
How Much Do Public Adjusters Charge?
The most important thing to remember is that public adjusters do not take payment up front, and if anyone tries to charge you upfront, they are not an ethical public adjuster.
Public Adjusters charge a portion of the settlement you receive in exchange for the services they provide you. The maximum amount a public adjuster can charge in Florida is 20% of the claim paid after you sign your contract with them, but the actual percentages charged vary between public adjusters which is why it is necessary to browse around for one that fits your needs.
Additionally, if the Governor’s Office declares an emergency and it was the cause of your loss, then the maximum amount a public adjuster can charge is 10% for claims that are made within the first year from the date of the loss. After that first year, the maximum percentage goes back to 20% so don’t wait too long to file your claim.
Why You Need Continental Public Adjusters
Continental Public Adjusters is proud to serve the entire state of Florida in handling property claims, and they have the experience to help you get the most out of your policy.
If you have a new property claim, or even worse if your claim is denied, delayed, or underpaid, you need an experienced public adjuster.
Continental Public Adjusters will do five key things for you:
1. Advocate: Our sole responsibility is to make sure you receive the maximum recovery for your loss.
2. Review: A comprehensive investigation helps us understand each specific type of loss. With our experts and consultants, we begin to determine the overall value of your property loss.
3. Estimate: Using the latest cost estimating software to prepare supporting documentation and provide it to your carrier.
4. Adjust: We will adjust your claim and negotiate with your insurance company adjuster to reach a settlement meeting your approval, in your best interest.
5. Maximize: We can foresee issues and obstacles in the claims process with the experience that comes from settling thousands of claims, and will work to reach your maximum benefit.
Start with a free consultation with one of our team members to learn about your options. Continental Public Adjusters, Inc. has 38 years of experience successfully settling thousands of claims related to both personal and commercial property in the state of Florida.