Public Adjuster Pros and Cons Every Homeowner Should Know
The Claim ProcessLet’s use the water damage example to look at the claim’s process. A pipe bursts in your bathroom while you’re not home. The bathroom floods with water. Unfortunately, the bathroom is on the upper floor of your home. Gravity takes over and water starts coming through the ceiling to your kitchen and landing on your new hardwood flooring. The burst pipe is causing significant property damage and you decide to file an insurance claim with your homeowner’s insurance to get repairs taken care of with insurance money. To file a claim, you call your insurance company and report the incident. They send out their adjuster to survey the damages and come up with the cost estimates. You are given money for repairs from the insurance company once the two of you agree on the amount proposed by the adjuster. What happens if you cannot come to an agreement on the amount? This is often when homeowners choose to hire a public adjuster.
Difference Between a Public Adjuster and an Insurance AdjusterSo, what is the difference between an insurance company adjuster and a public adjuster? The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. He works on their behalf to get information about claims and come up with the proposed repairs and what it would cost for the repairs. The public adjuster would be hired and paid by the homeowner. Both do the same tasks of evaluating and assessing the damage. Both will write up proposals for repairs and their costs. The key difference is who employs them to do that task. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both kinds of adjusters.
Insurance AdjusterThe insurance company employs adjuster to go to homes and survey damage. They are typically very knowledgeable about the trades of building or repairing a house. Often they are individuals who have a contractor’s license or who have worked in the field in the past. They need to be highly knowledgeable about home construction as they evaluate damages and propose what it will cost to make the necessary repairs.
Positive of an Insurance AdjusterThere are a few positives to consider when thinking about using the insurance company’s adjuster. The insurance company can afford to hire adjusters who have a vast range of experience in the field. The adjuster needs to be knowledgeable about everything from plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical to finish work like drywall and paint. A big bonus of the insurance adjuster is that he or she comes at no additional cost to you as the homeowner. Most people have stayed with the same insurance company for the life of their homeownership. There is no reason to suspect that this adjuster would not want to fix the problem and skimp to save the insurance company money.
Negatives of an Insurance AdjusterThe truth is though, they are employed by the insurance company. The work they do is on behalf of the insurance company, not the homeowner. If you have had a big loss, like from a fire, the damages will be extensive. There might be some insurance companies who will want to save some money in the payout process. Ultimately, the insurance adjuster answers to the insurance company and needs to satisfy them. Having said that, many insurance adjusters have professional reputations. Their goal is not to fix something on the cheap but instead to propose a plan that would get repairs done right.
Public Adjusters WorkMany homeowners don’t even know about public adjusters. They assume the work done by the insurance adjuster is done on their behalf. A public adjuster is employed by the homeowner. They are also paid by the homeowner, typically a percentage of the claim amount. A homeowner might decide to hire a public adjuster if they have a potentially large claim and are worried about getting everything covered. If you hire a public adjuster, the sooner in the claim process the better. It is best if they can take over to speak on your behalf and work with the insurance adjuster right from the onset of the claim. You might be wondering how to find a reputable public adjuster. Not all of them have good reputations and can have the reputation of being “ambulance chasers” looking for a disaster to make some money from. If you want to hire a public adjuster, start by looking at their credentials.
- How are they skilled to assess damages?
- What experience do they have in working alongside the insurance company towards a settlement?
- How are their communication skills to work with all parties involved to get a settlement?
Pro of Hiring a Public AdjusterIf you find yourself in the process of making a claim with your insurance company, you might find it worthwhile to hire a public adjuster. This might be especially true if you feel like the insurance adjuster is not including all the necessary costs for repairs from your claim. Let’s take a closer look at the positives of hiring a public adjuster. Knowledge and Professional Standards Most states have strict standards for public adjusters. They can’t just decide this is a job they want to make money. The state requires careful training and knowledge to be licensed as a public adjuster. Often public adjusters are members of their professional organization which requires certain skill standards. Public adjusters also must be:
- Pass a background check