When the time comes to file a claim with your insurance company, your world may be in chaos. More than likely, you have suffered an accident or a loss to your home or other property. Your insurance company will send a staff adjuster to look at the loss after you file your claim. You may believe that the estimate of the loss is less than what you deserve. That may be the time to hire a public adjuster to assist you.
What is the fee for a Public Adjuster? Public adjusters fees fall into three categories. The amount charged by the adjuster in each category varies by region and by case. The three methods adjusters use to charge fees are:
How much public adjusters actually charge or actually can charge is a complicated issue and deserves a more detailed look at each type of fee structure. You should have a clear understanding of what costs may be involved and what services the public adjuster will perform for those fees. In order to get the exact rate a public adjuster will charge based on your specific insurance claim, schedule a consultation with a public adjuster. Before you do, however, there are several things that you should consider and questions you should ask before you sign any contract.
Each state in the US has different laws, rules, and licensing requirements for public adjusters. Some states don’t even recognize or license public adjusters at all and require you to use an attorney if you want representation in a claims dispute with the insurance company. You must first determine your state’s situation with regard to public adjusters.
Fortunately, there is some good reference material on the internet to help you learn more about public adjusters in your state. We suggest that you search the internet for one of these websites and learn what your state does and does not allow and about your rights when filing an insurance claim. One of the best reference sites we have found is here.
Many states also regulate the fee structures that public adjusters can charge. These vary widely across the United States. Before you begin your search for a public adjuster, it would be in your best interest to know how your state laws and regulations approach regulating public adjuster feed.
For example, in Texas, it doesn’t matter what fee structure a public adjuster adopts, all fee payments are capped at 10% of the settlement you get from your insurance company. This applies to all types of fee arrangements.
In Florida, public adjusters are licensed by the state and can charge no more than 20% of the total settlement from the insurance company. There are other regulations that may affect that 20% cap and reduce the fees paid to the public adjuster under certain circumstances.
In some states, the fee for a contingency basis contract can go as high as 20%. Often these fees are negotiable or work on a sliding scale basis that is tied to the size of the settlement that the public adjuster negotiates for you. Make sure that you are clear with any terms and fees that may be part of your contract.
That is a hard question to answer. There are many variables that can affect the amount that an insurance company will agree to pay out on an individual claim. Large claims can often become very complicated and may involve long negotiations. A few of the things that can affect what you will be offered as a settlement by your insurance company can include:
Be very wary of any public adjuster who guarantees that he or she can get you more money from the insurance company. This is a promise that an ethical and professional public adjuster won’t make. There is no way that a public adjuster can guarantee a better settlement before a claim is filed and an offer made by the insurance company.
There are some things that you should consider when hiring a public adjuster rather than depending solely on the reports filed by an independent adjuster or a company staff adjuster.
In states where public claims adjusters are not licensed, there are alternatives available to you. You can always hire an attorney to dispute the settlement offer from the insurance company. Many states require insurance companies to allow homeowners the option of employing an appraiser to represent them rather than an adjuster. You must understand what is in your policy and the state laws where you live.
Before you enter into any contract with a public adjuster, you should have a clear understanding of what the adjuster will do, how much he will be paid, and what part you have in the claims process once the contract is in place. Ask a lot of questions. Some things you should discuss are:
Before you sign the contract, you should be comfortable with the adjuster you have chosen. There should be a good rapport, and you should have the feeling that the adjuster is involved in your claim. You want an advocate who will work for you.
There are arguments against using a public insurance adjuster. Before you decide to hire a public insurance adjuster to handle your claim, you should consider these issues.
The insurance industry is very competitive and developing a reputation of not dealing fairly with their clients is bad business. AN argument can be made that it is n the best interest of the insurance company to settle claims fairly and quickly. In the event you decide not to hire a public adjuster and to work with the insurance company and the adjuster they send, there are some things you should do and not do.
If your decision is to work with the insurance company and their claims adjuster, you need to remember that the company adjuster is not on your side. It is your responsibility to look out for your interests.
Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice. This article is presented for educational and informational purposes only. You should consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction whenever there is a question about contractual obligations or breach of contract.
The insurance company has their goals, and you should have yours as well. Typically, your goals in the claims process are the same whether you hire a public adjuster or work with the insurance company and their staff adjuster.
In the end, it is your peace of mind and your financial well being that is at stake when you have suffered a calamitous loss. Your aim should be to begin rebuilding your life with as few problems and as little stress as possible. Whether that involves hiring a public adjuster or handling your claim yourself is a decision only you can make.