Not everyone has the time or the inclination to deal with an insurance claim. Many such people choose a public insurance adjuster to represent them in their claim process. Public adjusters are similar to your insurance company's claims adjuster. The main difference is that they work for you, the policyholder, and not the insurance company. Therefore, you pay their fee.
Why Pay Someone When Your Insurance Pays an Adjuster?
So why would you pay a portion of your claim's settlement to a public adjuster when the insurance company pays its claim adjuster and costs you nothing? We've already mentioned the time factor. Here are a few other reasons to hire a public adjuster:
- Your claim adjuster's projected settlement is less than satisfactory.
- You have a large claim.
- Previous claim experience has been poor.
Larger claims can be very stressful, especially if you have had poor experiences in the past. A public adjuster can make sure that your claim's settlement is one you can live with — and you don't have to deal with the insurance company.
When Should an Adjuster Be Hired?
The best time to hire a public adjuster is before you file your claim, since hiring one after getting notice of your projected settlement can add weeks to your claim process. Hiring anytime before knowing your payout is the best policy, so the earlier, the better.
Hire only someone who comes with good references and a good rating from the Better Business Bureau. Check any license with your state to make sure that it is active. No reputable public adjuster or public adjuster group will pressure you to hire them. Never deal with a public adjuster trying to get hired by going door-to-door. That's akin to ambulance chasing and is immediately suspect.
Public Adjuster Fees
Not personally dealing with an insurance company is a benefit that many people may agree is worth any cost. A public adjuster's fee is fixed by your state. It may be as high as 15 percent. Some websites state that the fees could be as low as 5 percent and as high as 20 percent. Always get your costs in writing and due your due diligence. Check with your state to see what the cap is on public adjuster fees.
Remember that there is never any guarantee that a public adjuster will garner you a better settlement than your claim adjuster. Know what you will pay an adjuster should you not reach a settlement.