Public Adjusters and Your Insurance Claim

Public Adjusters and Your Insurance Claim   

by Kristin Smith

From a hailstorm to a catastrophe like a hurricane or wildfire, public adjusters often solicit business after weather events. These independent adjusters aren’t associated with your insurance company, but you can hire them to help with a loss, schedule inspections of damaged property and negotiate the settlement amount with your insurance provider. But should you?  

When considering whether to hire a public adjuster, keep these things in mind: 

  • Always check an adjuster’s qualifications with the department of insurance in your state. Many states require public adjusters to be licensed. 
  • Watch out for individuals going door-to-door using high pressure sales tactics after a storm. 
  • Ask about fees and get a written contract that includes a detailed list of the repair work to be done, along with costs, materials, start and completion dates, and warranty information. 
  • Carefully read the contract terms and never sign a contract you don’t understand.  
  • Know how long you have to cancel the contract if you change your mind. 
  • Don’t provide any type of payment before the work is completed and inspected. 
  • Avoid public adjusters that claim to be part of a government agency. 
  • Be mindful of potential conflicts that may prevent the public adjuster from doing their best for you. For example, ownership or association with a contractor hired to do repairs.  

If you decide to move forward with a public adjuster, know that: 

  • Adding parties to the claim process can potentially add time and cost to your settlement. 
  • An adjuster’s fee may be taken from your settlement proceeds. 
  • It may take longer to get your settlement if the check is issued to both you and your public adjuster. 

Before the unexpected happens, take some time to review your current insurance policies so you know what is, and isn’t, included in your coverage. Your agent will be able to walk you through the details. Hiring a public adjuster is your decision but do your research first and be aware of your options. The more you know about your policies, the better you can protect yourself. 

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