From an overflowing sink to a heavy storm that damaged your home, unfortunately, accidents happen. Luckily, your insurance will cover the damages resulting from the unfortunate events. However, filing and managing a claim and reaching a fair settlement can be a daunting task.
This is where public adjusters come in to save the day and help you handle your claim hassle*free. But when should you consider hiring one? Is it always necessary? Are there any downsides to keep in mind?
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about the pros and cons of hiring a public adjuster to manage an insurance claim on your behalf and make an informed decision.
Insurance Claims Crash Course: What is a Claims Adjuster?
Before we dive into the pros and cons of hiring a public adjuster, it’s essential to cover the base ground and cut through any insurance lingo you might not be familiar with. So, what’s an adjuster in insurance?
A claims adjuster, also known as an insurance adjuster, is a person who investigates an insurance claim to determine if the insurance company should pay for the damage or injuries and, if so, how much they should pay. Insurance claim adjusters can either be in-house representatives or independent adjusters hired by your insurer or you. They play a vital role in the insurance industry, as catastrophes and accidents happen daily.
What Does a Claims Adjuster Do?
Now that you know what a claims adjuster is, you might wonder: “What does an insurance adjuster do, exactly?” Claims adjusters verify and access insurance claims, from personal injury to property damage, and determine a fair amount for the settlement. In property damage claims, the central role of an insurance adjuster is to carry out a detailed investigation by:
· Inspecting and accessing the damage,
· Reading and reviewing reports by officials,
· Speaking to witnesses,
· Talking to property owners.
For example, let’s say a homeowner makes an insurance claim due to a neighbor’s tree falling on their house, damaging the roof (yikes!). A claims adjuster would interview both parties involved, along with any witnesses, and inspect the property to assess the extent of the damages and the costs of necessary repairs.
The insurance claim adjuster then prepares a claim file and submits all the necessary paperwork to the insurance company describing the incident and making recommendations for the fair claim amount of the settlement (how much money the insured party should receive from the insurance company to repair the property).
What is an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster is another name for an (insurance) claims adjuster. These terms are synonyms and can be used interchangeably. The terms desk adjuster, field adjuster, or general adjuster are also used to refer to claim adjusters.
What is a Public Insurance Adjuster?
Public insurance adjusters, or simply public adjusters, work directly on behalf of policyholders. They help businesses or individuals file insurance claims and determine the amount for settlement. Public adjusters are generally contract workers and are paid a fixed percentage of the accepted settlement amount.
Are public adjusters legitimate? What makes a good claims adjuster? A reputable public adjuster understands and has experience in the insurance industry, is licensed in their state, and can help you seamlessly navigate the claim process.
However, note that the laws regarding the public adjuster license might vary as each state has different rules for public adjuster licensing and fees. That means states are entirely in charge of how public adjusters are governed, how public adjusters operate, and whether or not public adjusters need to get licensed.
What is the Difference Between a Public Adjuster and Adjuster?
There are two types of adjusters:
· Independent adjusters – hired and paid by insurance companies to adjust the claim on their behalf.
· Public adjusters – work exclusively for the insurance policyholder.
Both public and insurance adjusters do the same tasks of evaluating damage and writing proposals for repairs and their costs. The key difference between the two is who employs them or, in other words, whose “team” they are on. Thus, a burning question weighing heavily on many people’s minds is: Should I trust an insurance adjuster?
Many make the mistake of assuming that the work done by an insurance company adjuster is done on their behalf. However, insurance company adjusters don’t have your best interest at heart. Although independent, the so-called “staff adjusters” act on behalf of insurance companies – not you. And, since insurance companies are in the business of making money, they will often try to deny the claim or minimize the payout amount.
This is where public adjusters come into play. Unlike the insurance adjusters who will do the insurance company’s bidding, public adjusters work on your behalf and focus their efforts on your bottom line to ensure you are fully paid for the entire loss on time.
A Deep Dive into the Pros and Cons of Hiring a Public Adjuster
Is using a public adjuster a good idea? If you’re still on the fence about whether you should hire a public adjuster, we’ve compiled a detailed list of key public adjuster pros and cons worth considering to help you decide.
Public Adjuster Benefits
Some of the main advantages of hiring a public adjuster are:
- Guidance and All the Legwork Done for You
Insurance policies are full of mind-boggling legal terminology and nitty-gritty details, getting a grasp of which can be tiresome and stressful. Luckily, public adjusters are well-versed in insurance matters and will help you understand your insurance coverage policy and walk you through the ins and outs of how the claim process works in layman’s terms.
And that’s not all – public adjusters are knowledgable negotiation maestros. By hiring one, you’ll have an advocate to do all the thinking and parleying for you and improve your chances of reaching a higher settlement offer faster, armed with the right skills, knowledge (and motivation!) to ensure you get paid the maximum amount owed under your policy.
So, having an experienced public adjuster by your side to do all the heavy lifting for you can save you a lot of time, trouble, headaches – and money.
- Fewer Costs, More Settlement Money
Hiring an attorney is expensive. Plus, attorneys will likely hire a public adjuster to investigate your claim, so you’ll end up prolonging the process and having to pay both for their services.
Public adjusters charge their services based on contingency fees, so no upfront fees, or payments are required – they get paid a fixed percentage from the accepted settlement once you receive payment from the insurance company. On top of that, this regime gives public adjusters the perfect incentive for making the settlement a win-win. If you don’t get paid, they don’t either. The higher the settlement amount, the more they get paid.
Motivated, determined, and able to understand the fine print on the insurance policies, public adjusters will go to great lengths to maximize the claim settlement and dig deep to identify all of the associated damage to ensure nothing is overlooked. They can increase the scope and amount of the repairs well above what the insurance company may want to pay and even find coverage for losses that may have been previously denied or dispute unfair settlement offers.
Public Adjuster Disadvantages
Although there are numerous advantages to hiring a public adjuster to do your bidding, there are also some downsides to bear in mind:
- Some Do Not Handle Small Claims
Although public adjusters might be an end-all-be-all for large property damage claims, bringing one in for minor claims that don’t amount to much may be tricky. After all, managing an insurance claim is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of effort, so sometimes it’s simply not worth it for a public adjuster to manage small claims. Some public adjusters will take on more minor claims but might increase their fee percentage to make it worth their while.
- Reaching a Settlement Might Take More Time
Hiring a public adjuster usually helps speed up claims, thanks to their undisputed expertise. However, sometimes it can take a bit longer to settle when a PA is involved. Nonetheless, a little patience can go a long way and work in your favor, as such delays might benefit you. For example, investing time in scratching under the surface to detect hidden damages you might not be aware of might leave you with even more insurance money for the cost of repairs.
When Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
So, should you hire a public adjuster to assist you with an insurance claim? It depends on the size of your claim. Small and straightforward insurance claims can usually be filed and managed by property owners and don’t require intervention by a public adjuster.
However, public adjusters are a must when dealing with expensive, larger settlement claims. For more complicated insurance claims and catastrophic property damage, such as fire damage, the math is simple – you should definitely get a public adjuster on board, as the pros of hiring one far outweigh the cons.
You can hire a public adjuster anytime during the claims and repair process. However, it’s best to hire a public adjuster early on in the process to ensure everything goes smoothly from the start and avoid getting entangled in a web of complexities out of your depth or any complications down the road.
How Do I Choose a Public Adjuster?
With an experienced public adjuster in your corner, you can effortlessly settle even the most complex claims to your advantage. Instead of dealing with additional stress on top of an already unfortunate situation or being manipulated by the insurance company, you can feel relieved knowing you have a partner you can trust advocating on your behalf.
However, not all public adjusters are the same – you want to hire a reputable and trusted public adjuster that will handle your claim smoothly, quickly, and with your best interest at heart, instead of the so-called “ambulance chasers” just waiting for the opportunity to make money on disasters. With over 13+ years of experience in the industry, Elite resolutions Public Adjusters are here to help you get the most out of your insurance claims.
Our vetted experts know the ins and outs of insurance claims and have what it takes to settle fast and for nothing less than what you deserve! Have peace of mind knowing that you’re armed with an experienced, licensed public adjuster in your corner, ready to tackle any challenges you bring to the table.