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When Is It Necessary To Hire A Public Adjuster
A public adjuster is a professional who helps people and entities to file insurance claims for a fee.
They are licensed professionals with experience and expertise who anyone would like to have in their corner when making claims (especially big ones) against an insurance companies.
The fact is that what a person files a claim against an insurer, it’s basically one person, or one party, going up against organizations with billions of dollars behind them. And they would like no better than to reject claims or minimize them.
Not really a fair match-up.
Public insurance adjusters are just the kind of experts would could give you a little more leverage as a claimant.
They can sometimes be independent, or work for a company of adjusters.
Sometimes, the insurer you are filing a claim against might offer to appoint one of their own insurance adjusters to represent you.
In such circumstances, you should decide whether it makes sense at all and if there is any potential for bad faith insurance practices.
What exactly do public adjusters do?
Public adjusters can be expected to be familiar with the real meanings behind industry jargon and language, and can explain them in layman terms to a client.
Usually hired for property-related claims, they often have experience of working in property-related corporations such as construction companies and have the knowledge of how valuations works.
This why they are in very good positions to estimate losses incurred for property damage and can sniff out malice the moment an insurer tries to pull a fast one on the client.
On top of that claims departments often make it quite a hassle in the process of filing claims.
This can sometimes deter people from doing them, or make major mistakes simply due to exhaustion.
For example, a homeowner might file a claim for a new roof as replacement for a damaged one. A public adjuster might include the costs of removal of the current roof as well.
Public adjusters have the expertise to do file claims promptly and might even have templates to follow from previous successful claims.
They are able to accurately itemize damages in an effective detailed way to maximize claims.
If a negotiation for claim amounts is undertaken, adjusters would also know where their strengths and weaknesses are.
This is why public adjusters are revered by insurers.
What can you expect to pay for the public adjuster fee?
While there are public adjusters who do accept a fixed fee (especially for small claims), they usually charge a percentage of the successful claim amount.
For example, if a claim was finalized with his help for $50,000 and the public adjuster fee is 10%, then it comes up to $5,000.
However, it’s not impossible to negotiate their fees. This is especially so for big claims.
The logic is that if the adjuster is able to make a much larger claim for you, why not pay him with that extra money.
Sometimes, state law can also set a ceiling for the fee charged by these claims specialists. This can either be a dollar cap or a percentage cap.
Questions to ask before hiring a claims expert
Considering that it must be a big claim amount to get a public adjuster involved, hiring a wrong one can have dire consequences.
So here are some questions you might want to ask a public adjuster before hiring.
- Are you licensed to practice in the state?
- Are you handling the case or will it be someone else?
- How many claims of this type of claims have you handled?
- How experienced are you in this field?
- What are your credentials
- Can you give me 3 references of clients you’ve serve in the past?
- How do we terminate the contract to hire you?
Do include your own questions when necessary.
The goal of asking these questions is judge his credentials, experience and commitment levels.
When do you hire an attorney instead?
In most disputes with an insurer regarding claims, a public adjuster should be able to help a claimant with obtaining a fair amount of claims.
However at times, an insurer might simply refuse to accept the findings you or your adjuster made.
They then refuse to negotiate or offer better claims.
If you are sure of your position and feels that the insurer is in the wrong, then hiring an attorney might be the next logical step.
A lawyer should be able to determine if you indeed have a case against them.