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200 million insurance claims are rejected every year.
For those that get paid, the process is not a walk in the park. Anyone that has had to make an insurance claim can attest to the sheer complexity, time consumption and at times, frustration that comes with the process.
In fact, it can get so defeating, that you might be tempted to take the first offer given to you by your insurer. Unbeknownst to many, such an offer is likely to be much lower than what should be dully paid to you.
Enter the public adjuster. These are professionals that could handle your claim from start to finish and ensure you get the compensation you truly deserve.
In this article, we explore who these are, what they can do for you, as well as how to tell if you need to hire an adjuster.
What Is an Adjuster?
An adjuster is an independent, licensed insurance professional who works on behalf of corporates and individuals.
They assess property loss on behalf of a policyholder. This assessment includes investigating, recording and validating the damage done to the policyholder’s property.
They can also help a policyholder file an insurance claim for a fee. This fee is calculated as a percentage of your settlement.
For this fee, adjusters help the policyholder get the most of their insurance policy.
However, public adjusters can only get you the amount of money you are entitled to.
Another aspect they handle is documentation. These experts can file and negotiate claims for fire, smoke, floods, hurricane, and wind damage.
They can also evaluate other losses stemming from property damage. These include loss of income.
Adjusters asses your policy’s coverage as well. This means looking through your policy and determining what compensation applies to the claim. Ultimately, they will then present their application to the insurer and engage in settlement talks.
Public Vs. Independent and Company Adjusters
Individuals and corporate entities can enlist the services of insurance adjusters to assess property loss and determine the amount a claim should pay out.
To cater to different clients, there are public, company and individual adjusters.
Independent adjusters are hired on demand when there is a need for their specific expertise. They typically work as consultants attached to insurance companies.
On the other hand, company adjusters are hired by carriers and tasked with evaluating claims filed by people with policies in their companies.
Do I Need a Public Adjuster?
Not all claims require the expertise of an insurance claim adjuster. However, the specific circumstances surrounding your claim can determine whether or not you require one.
Here are the main determinants that inform the decision to hire an adjuster.
1. You Need to Document and Prove a Claim
If you have a complicated claim or are claiming a large settlement, you probably need an adjuster on board.
Your insurer will involve an adjuster to handle your claim. However, this adjuster is being paid by the insurer and they will naturally look out for the insurer’s interest.
Your insurer’s adjuster and your insurer are well versed in insurance policy and regulations. This places you at a disadvantage.
What initially looks like a simple claim may quickly become difficult to navigate.
Take, for example, your home burns down. How do you prove damages to justify your claim?
Keep in mind that you have to not only list the damaged items, but you also have to value them.
This is the kind of scenario public adjusters handle every day. Hiring one accords you the expertise and help required to handle the process seamlessly.
2. You Are Unclear on Your Policy
Insurance claims hold a magnitude of complex clauses, processes, provisions and legal terms that all play into the claim-filing process.
Basic terminology includes business interruption coverage, actual cash value, and period of restoration are some terms you are expected to understand.
You are also expected to have some comprehension of the valuation process.
If you do not have property claim experience, then you can significantly benefit from hiring an adjuster.
3. When You Have Limited Time
The circumstances that prompt a claim are stressful.
If the claim is prompted by an eventuality to your business, then you are also tasked with managing operations and trying to juggle business recovery and continuity options.
If the damage was to your home, you have an emotional loss of sentimental property, not to mention the need to find new permanent or temporary accommodations.
Keeping in mind that the burden of proof lies with the insured, you indeed have a lot on your plate.
Hiring an adjuster ensures that you have someone to:
• Evaluate the policy and ensure to utilize the best strategies for presenting your claim
• Carefully document and substantiate each itemized property damage
• Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
• Update you on the developments of your case
• Fight for a maximum payout with little input from you
Ultimately, this helps you work towards some semblance of normalcy in your life.
4. You Feel Your Insurer Is Unreasonably Delaying the Claim Process
An insurance claim is quite consuming. At times, it’s unreasonably so.
If you feel that your insurer is intentionally ignoring your calls, failing to communicate or otherwise giving you the run-around, then a public adjuster can come in handy.
They can take over all communication on your behalf, and only report back on the progress. This is both convenient and time saving for you.
Despite the role your adjuster plays, the final decision on your payout is solely yours.
A public adjuster cannot accept or reject an offer on your behalf, without your say-so.
Get the Help and Support You Need
Following an unfortunate event that interrupts your business or makes your home inhabitable, having a helping hand can make all the difference.
Public adjusters work to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve without unnecessary delays. This can allow you to focus on getting things back on track.
Are you struggling with a complicated insurance claim? Talk to a public adjuster in your location and find out what your options are.