Why Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
When filing a claim, it is up to you to prove the extent of the damage and loss to your insurance company. This involves reading and understanding dozens of pages of provisions and stipulations in technical and legal terms. For your claim to be processed and approved, certain conditions need to be satisfied. If those conditions aren’t met, your settlement amount may be reduced or your claim may be denied outright.
A public adjuster helps maximize your benefits and payout from your insurance company to ensure you get a fair settlement by performing the following duties:
- Review your home insurance policy to determine your coverage and whether you are eligible to file a claim based on that coverage.
- Help you understand your coverage and your rights.
- Evaluate and document property damage.
- Calculate estimates for repairs and/or replacements, as well as a timeline for the work.
- Ensure all paperwork is filed on time according to claim deadlines.
- Work with your insurance company, lawyers and any other involved parties on your behalf, including negotiating claims.
- Track your claim and keep you updated during the process.
As you can see, a public adjuster is a huge asset when navigating the insurance process after a disaster. In addition to guiding you through the process, they’ll work to get you a fair payout.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Public Adjuster
As with any major decision, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons when hiring a public adjuster.
- You are likely to receive a higher payout when working when a public adjuster vs your insurance company’s adjuster.
- They have extensive knowledge of state laws,
- You will have someone guiding you through the claims process, which makes the process easier and smoother.
- You are responsible for hiring the public adjuster yourself.
- The adjuster is paid out of your settlement, whereas an adjuster provided by your insurance company is free.
When to Hire a Public Adjuster
You can hire a public adjuster at any point in your claims process. Some people prefer to start the process with a public adjuster, while others hire one if they feel that the settlement proposed by their insurance company’s claims adjuster is not fair.
It’s important to note that public adjusters generally work on large, complex claims. At Excel Adjusters, we handle the following cases:
- Water Damage
How to Hire a Public Adjuster
When hiring a public adjuster, it’s important to ensure they are properly licensed and credentialed. Public adjuster scams are not uncommon, so doing your due diligence is crucial. Start by searching for reputable public adjusters in your area with the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAIPA). Your state may also have their own association of public adjusters. For instance, in California the California Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (CAPIA) provides licensure information for adjusters in that state.
You can also ask for referrals from friends, family or coworkers. If they have worked with a public adjuster in the past, they can point you in the right direction. Just be sure to check their credentials with NAIPA.
Once you’ve found a public adjuster you’d like to work with, contact them to discuss your case and ask for references. You should also read reviews and look at their Better Business Bureau profile to help guide your decision-making process.
Like when hiring any professional, you may want to talk with a few before making your choice. Many public adjusters provide free consultations and reviews, so there is little risk in getting opinions from multiple adjusters before choosing one to handle your case.
How Much Does a Public Adjuster Cost?
Public adjusters do not cost anything up front. They are paid via a portion of your settlement. The rate varies based on the complexity of the case and amount of work involved, but you can expect to pay between 5% and 20% of your final payout.
That means on a $100,000 settlement, you could pay anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. Your state may limit how much public adjusters can charge, however.
Your public adjuster will notify you of their fee structure up front, so you have an understanding of how much you’ll end up paying.
Can my insurance company raise my rates if I use a public adjuster?
No. Your insurance company cannot terminate coverage or raise your rates simply because you used a public adjuster. Your policy can only be canceled because of non-payment of your premium and your rates cannot be raised outside of the policy renewal period. The amount that your premium may be raised by is determined by law.
Need a Public Adjuster in Southern California?
With over 20 years of experience, Excel Adjusters has recovered millions of dollars for residential and commercial clients in Los Angeles and Southern California. If you need assistance navigating a fire/wildfire, earthquake, water damage, vandalism, theft or marijuana claim, don’t wait to contact us. We’re here to help you get the settlement you deserve.