If you have experienced any type of damage in your home, whether from water, fire or a weather event, there is a good chance you will need to work with an adjuster for your claim to your insurance company. Public adjusters do not have any conflicting interest as they are not representing the insurance company, but only policy holders. Like any other professional, experience varies, and you want to choose your adjuster carefully. Here are just a few considerations.
States require public adjusters to be licensed, and this is the first thing you should check with your potential candidates. Get their license number, and check it with your state’s Department of Insurance. You can do this on their website or contact them directly.
How much experience does the adjuster have? While a new company is not necessarily suspect, it is important to note that there are periods, such as after a major weather event in the area, when the number of people getting licensed as adjusters spikes significantly, as many are looking to cash in on the large number of claims. In Florida, for example, the 2004-2005 hurricane season resulting in the number of public adjusters tripling. An experienced and reputable adjuster will make greater inroads with your insurance company. Whether you are looking for assistance in treating water damage in Weston, or a tornado in Wichita, it is important your adjuster has experience with your type of claim and working with your specific carrier.
Membership in professional organizations is always something to check for when considering the right company for any sort of service. When it comes to public adjusters, two good organizations include the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), or the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (AAPIA.) If a person lists membership, you can verify it at the organization’s website.
Beware of Low Fees
The type of loss, the complexity and size will determine the fee for handing your claim, and the typical rate is between 5 and 15 percent. When a rate falls below this range, it is a red flag the adjuster may not put the proper effort into handling the claim, or it could be an indicator you don’t need an adjuster at all for this particular claim. It is also important to note a state of emergency declared by the appropriate government agencies limits the percentage that can be charged, so in this event be sure you are aware of that amount.
Be Wary of Promises Made Before Full Investigation
No adjuster should be making any sort of guarantees or promising a specific outcome without having first carefully reviewed your policy and the damage. There is no way for an adjuster to accurately assess the situation without doing his homework first—anyone operating otherwise suggests a red flag.
Don’t Be Pressured
Read over contracts carefully. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. A good adjuster will be patient with you and answer them. It is okay to take a day to think about it. Don’t work with adjusters who pressure you into signing a contract.