If you are considering hiring a public adjuster, it probably means that you have suffered property damages and you are trying to determine the benefit they would provide for the cost they require.
In this article, we will take you through some questions you will want to ask before making a decision on hiring a public adjuster.
What is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is different from the insurance adjuster you talk to after filing your home insurance claim. The “Company Adjuster” or “staff adjuster” is someone working for your insurance company. In other words, this is someone who is looking out for the insurance agency to fulfill the letter of your policy and give you what is in the contract, and nothing more. They will not go out of their way for you.
A public adjuster, on the other hand, is paid when your claim is settled. So, they have a vested interest in making sure that the insurance company pays out everything you are owed, and that the amounts of the damages are calculated in your favor, not in favor of the insurance agency.
A public adjuster is someone who will take over the process of handling your claim and negotiating your settlement. Because of the amount of trust you have to place in such an individual, you shouldn’t hire one lightly.
Why Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
Public Adjusters are professionals who deal with managing insurance claims for a living. They are intimately familiar with the terminology and the processes. Thus, they can do a much better job of negotiating the details of your settlement than you will.
Hiring a public adjuster is also recommended if you have a very large or complex loss, and the public adjuster will do their own evaluation of the damages. If your personal or professional life prevents you from giving your claim the attention it needs, a public adjuster can handle that for you.
8 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring
1. Will you be handling my claim yourself?
It is important to know if you are talking to the person who will be taking care of your insurance claim. Conducting an interview to hire a public adjuster doesn’t do much good if you aren’t talking to the person who will ultimately handle your claim.
2. How many claims do you currently have from this area?
This is important to consider in the aftermath of a disaster. If you select a public adjuster that has too many claims running concurrently, they will be spread thin and unable to give you the attention that you need to have a successful outcome.
3. Are you a licensed public adjuster in my state?
Making sure the public adjuster you hire is licensed is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you are getting a reputable individual. Sometimes they are licensed under a company instead of having their credentials individually. Do your homework and make sure they are reliable and respectable.
4. What is your fee contract?
Public adjusters work for a portion of the fee paid out by your insurance company, so factor that into your decision when choosing a public adjuster. This typically ranges from 5%-15% and is negotiable. Yet, some states have caps on the fees a public adjuster can charge. Make sure you aren’t being cheated by a disreputable individual, and make sure you know if the public adjuster takes a portion of all the funds paid by insurance or not. Some public adjusters don’t take a fee on living expenses or other categories of benefits.
5. Can I still talk directly to my insurance company?
Make sure that if you want to stay involved in your claim that you talk to your public adjuster upfront about it, rather than trying to keep in contact with your insurance and confusing the process.
6. Who are your references?
Speak to at least two references for each public adjuster before you hire them. Ask if they were happy with the result if the adjuster kept in contact and kept them informed, and how the fee was calculated. References are one of the best ways to get a feel for how your public adjuster will treat your claim because you will be talking to others who have worked with them before.
7. What happens if I want to terminate the contract before a settlement is reached?
Do you have the flexibility to terminate your relationship with the public adjuster before a settlement agreement is finalized? If you do, will you owe them an additional fee for breaking the contract? Make sure you know this before you sign anything.
8. Are you working with a specific attorney or firm on my claim?
In some states, Public Adjusters cannot charge contingent fees (a portion of the settlement) unless they are affiliated with an attorney or law firm. These states consider public adjusters acting without guidance from an attorney to be practicing the law without a license.
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 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.