What is a Public Adjuster?
A public insurance adjuster is a licensed professional that policyholders can hire to represent their best interests in a property insurance claim situation. Public insurance adjusters were created by their respective states to help level the playing field with the insurance carrier and provide the policyholder an expert advocate. The public adjuster helps manage the claim, make sure claim filing requirements are met and helps recover the amount a policyholder deserves under their insurance contract. Unlike the insurance adjuster sent out by the insurance company, the public adjuster works for you.
Benefits of Hiring a Public Adjuster
Homeowners, condominium complexes and businesses that experience property damage or loss, can find themselves in a very stressful situation as a major property insurance loss can have a paralyzing effect on the normal operation of your business or personal life at home. At the time of your loss, even the most efficient business or family can be overwhelmed with the requirements and burdens placed on them. Corporate executives, commercial property owners, and homeowners do not typically possess the knowledge or experience to prepare for a complex claim and in most cases they do not have the time.
Claim Representation-How it works
A loss to your commercial property or home creates an unfamiliar environment and poses excessive demands on your time. Decisions involving thousands and sometimes millions of dollars must be made and often made quickly with little margin for error. A decision must be made early on whether this process is to be undertaken by the policyholder or whether the professional expertise of a public adjuster should be brought in. Time and again it has been demonstrated that when dealing in an area that is unfamiliar, the end result can be a loss in valuable time and money.
But when should you hire a public adjuster and what criteria should you use when deciding if you need a public adjuster to represent you in a property claim?
Hire a Public Adjuster at the Right Time
Like any situation, it’s always best to get professionals involved as early in the process as possible. But professional help does come with a cost and many policyholders make the decision to handle their claim themselves. Some are successful, but many become bogged down in the process and are never really sure they received the proper settlement amount. With insurance claims, a policyholder should beware they do not agree to or sign anything presented to them by their insurance carrier that they are not totally comfortable with.
Consider turning to a public insurance adjuster when one or more of the following conditions exist:
• You don’t have the time to deal with the demands of the insurance company. People already have full lives. They work and have family commitments and may not want to deal with the stress of trying to get a claim processed and paid.
• You don’t understand your policy. Insurance contracts can and will contain confusing documents and language leaving individuals unsure of their coverage. Turn to a licensed public adjuster like our claims team for help.
• You don’t have the expertise. Filing an insurance claim (especially with extensive and complicated damages) can be daunting. Get help if you are confused and avoid mistakes that might affect your settlement.
• Your damage is extensive. Severe property damage creates a variety of complicated claim issues. Coverages that you are due under your policy and certain types of damages can often be missed. Certain expenses may also be placed in the wrong coverage categories. Identifying hidden structural damage, valuing your loss properly and accounting for possessions and valuables can impact the value and settlement of your claim.
• The insurance carrier is offering a quick payoff. Insurance company research shows that the quicker a policyholder gets paid-off the happier they are. Unfortunately, what appears to be great customer service can sometimes be an attempt to get rid of a claim and get you to settle for less money due to the stress and desire to “get it over with.” Our only advice here is to take your time and make sure you are protected. You should not be rushed or forced to sign anything until you understand the true impact a claim can have.
• The insurance carrier appears to be delaying your claim. This often happens when major catastrophes create claims log-jams. In many cases we have seen insurance companies fly in adjusters from out of state who do not understand state law. In all states, insurance carriers are required to respond to you and process your claim in a specified time period. If you are getting the run-around, get help.
• The insurance carriers settlement offer appears to be inadequate based on your coverage. Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters and carriers do not always act in the best interest of their policyholders. They are in business to turn a profit and may value damages to your property differently than you. Or they may determine that you are not covered for some of the damage. Sometimes offers will not even approach the value of restoring the damaged property. This is where an expert such as our team who uses the same estimating software as the insurance carrier and understands insurance policy language will help.
• Your insurance claims adjuster is discouraging you from hiring a public insurance adjuster. Insurance claim representatives that are afraid to deal with a licensed professional may be a red flag. You should be the only one determining if hiring your own public adjuster makes sense and is worth the cost.
Most people that use an experienced public insurance adjuster such as ours will tell you the time saved, stress removed and peace of mind provided when working with an experienced public adjuster is well worth the fee.
CALL NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION ON YOUR PROPERTY LOSS!
Fire losses are often the most devastating occurrences that can happen to a family or business. These events require important short-term decisions from individuals that are under a tremendous amount of stress and confusion, which can have lasting consequences on your insurance claim. Our claims team can make your insurance go to work for you by applying practical and professional experience to your fire loss. Our claims team has the knowledge and expertise to help you negotiate the complicated process required by your insurance carrier to get your fire claim paid in a fair and honest manner to all parties involved.
A fire loss includes damages caused by smoke, soot, heat, the water used to extinguish the fire and the fire itself. In the case of a severe fire, all of these components combine to make a residence or business uninhabitable and unusable. Our claims team's first objective in preparing your claim for submission to your insurance carrier is to evaluate the scope of loss and damage as well as to analyze your insurance policy to see how it applies to the specific situations of your loss.
It must be determined to what degree the structure is damaged and how badly your personal or business property is affected. Are these items and components repairable or are they a total loss? It makes no economic sense to spend limited resources on repairs to items, which will only be replaced in the end. This is one area where disputes commonly occur between the insurance company and the policyholder. This cost will be subtracted from the policy limits that may be needed to pay for items that are clearly a total loss.
Be sure to take some time to consult with our claims team before signing blank authorization forms. Let the professional public adjuster determine what experts such as structural engineers, appliance and electronics technicians, cleaning and restoration specialists should be used in formulating a comprehensive plan to return your property to its pre-loss condition. These forms are also used to “spike the job” and may in fact give rise to liens on the property months later should the policyholder and carrier disagree on the claim. Our team of professionals will protect you and your claim every step of the way.
Smoke almost always accompanies a fire and the effects of the soot and carcinogens contained in a typical structure fire are very corrosive. Further, the heat of a fire pressurizes the smoke and drives it into areas of the building and affects contents, which are surprisingly remote from the source of the fire. For example, this smoke can lessen the life of electronic and mechanical equipment. The scope of restoration as well as the affected content value and cost of restoration can determine whether or not your property will be properly returned to its pre-loss condition.
Once our claims team has made a preliminary evaluation of your loss, we can guide, assist and advise you as to the best way to proceed towards the resolution of your claim against the insurance company.
Water damage is one of the most common types of property damage claims. Water damage can cause some of the biggest financial expenses for insurance companies, which often results in much grief and aggravation for property owners who should be entitled to accurate and maximized settlements.
While every insurance policy offers varying degrees of water damage coverage, most cover damage where the cause of loss was “sudden and accidental.” This includes water damage from burst pipes, sink or tub overflow, toilet or sewage backups, and water intrusion from breaches in a window or roof.
However, water damage can also appear gradually and quietly, damaging building materials and furnishings with mold or unusual warping. When this happens, most policy holders file a water damage insurance claim and expect their coverage to apply.
The reality is that while insurance companies should settle many water damage insurance claims, these claims are often unjustly underpaid or denied. Insurance company adjusters can misinterpret the policy language and deny coverage based on allegations that the type of water damaged is not covered under your policy. Always retain representation from a trusted public adjuster like our claims team before your insurance company offers you a low settlement or denies coverage all together.
Substantiating water damage requires specialized technology, yet your insurance company’s adjuster may not use these tools. If not discovered, hidden water damage doesn’t technically exist. Denials such as unfairly attributing damage to preventable maintenance issues are common. An experienced public adjuster from our claims team can discover, substantiate, and document the true cause of loss to get you compensated for the true value of your water damage claim. Do not fall victim to your insurance company. Call our professional claims team and get us fighting for you!