A public insurance adjuster can help settle an insurance claim on behalf of the policyholder.
The insurance claim process could be tiresome and time-consuming as it involves paperwork and negotiations. It also needs you to know the terms used in insurance. The settlement process also requires expertise for describing and quantifying the nature of damage and loss. Having a public adjuster can surely ease out the claim settlement process of the homeowners insurance.
Just as a coin has two sides, you will find several advantages and disadvantages to appointing a public adjuster. Below are the pros and cons that you may want to consider before hiring a public adjuster for your insurance claim.
Pros Of Appointing A Public Adjuster
- Having an expert at work
An individual gets a license of a public insurance adjuster only after meeting the requisite professional benchmarks. Usually, the adjusters are a member of a professional organization wherein they are subject to a thorough background check.
- An advocate to represent your case
A public adjuster works like an advocate representing your case. He or she negotiates on your behalf in the claim settlement process. With the expertise and the subject knowledge, the public adjuster helps in having a seamless claim settlement process.
- A guide through your difficult times
On the occurrence of an unfortunate event such as house fire, it may be difficult for you to recollect all those items that were once a part of your dream house. You may also find it challenging to quantify the loss incurred and the amount of claim to be made. During such testing times, a public adjuster may guide you through the situation.
- Making all Claims
Having a public adjuster helps in ensuring no loss remains unclaimed. For instance, damage caused on the wooden flooring due to a leakage in the bathroom on the upper floor could also damage the walls due to the water running inside them. A public adjuster with his acumen ensures no loss remains unclaimed.
- Receiving the Best Negotiated Claims
As a person lacking technical awareness, you may not be sure about the amount that can be claimed. Lack of confidence in negotiation due to the absence of subject knowledge may not result in a fair deal. With the guidance and support of a public adjuster, you may get a well-negotiated deal.
How to Avoid Pitfalls When Appointing A Public Adjuster
- Look at Experience and Competency
Like any other field, some professionals lack the expertise and competency that may result in an unfair deal for their clients. A public adjuster not possessing the right amount of experience and skills may not negotiate a favorable settlement for the homeowner.
- Taking up Big Claims
Some public adjusters are known for taking up more significant claims, such as huge losses due to a house fire. They usually neglect taking up smaller claims as their professional fees are based on the settlement amount, thus working on more substantial claims to have a bigger income source.
- Fixing the Right Price
It is vital to get a few local feedback on the public adjuster that you desire to hire. The adjusters charge contingency fees linked to the claim amount and could range anywhere from 5% to 15% on an average. However, some adjusters may want to charge a higher rate for a smaller claim amount to make more earnings. Thus it is essential to get some feedback from the local clients who have previously hired the public adjuster.
- Possibilities of Inflated Claims
A public insurance adjuster charges contingency fees, which form a percentage of the claim amount settled. An insurer would surely not want to pay over and above the actual damages; however, there could be a possibility of an inflated claim being made so that there is sufficient money for the public adjuster to make income in fees.
- Long Settlement Time
Inexperienced insurance adjusters may be unable to conclude the negotiation, which may require the courts’ involvement. Also, the multiple to and fro between the adjusters may delay the claim settlement process. Though the public adjuster aims at closing the settlement at the earliest, the involvement of multiple parties, coupled with multiple negotiations, may cause deferment of the final claim settlement.
Thus, it is important to evaluate the positives and negatives before deciding to appoint a public insurance adjuster. Your best bet may be to go for independent insurance adjusters having the membership of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. The association promotes guidelines and standards to be followed by public adjusters.