If you’ve never suffered any type of unexpected damage to your home or business you may not have ever heard the term “public adjuster”. Today, in the wake of recent Hurricane Irma, I want to spend a little time delving into who public adjusters are and what they can do for you.
To begin, a public adjuster is a person who represents YOUR interests when dealing with an insurance claim for your home or business. Their main job is to fight for you with the insurance company to make sure you get the maximum amount of compensation from your insurance company.
Let’s take a brief overview of the process for when you have any type of damage to your home or business. One of the most important things to remember is that time is of the essence when dealing with your insurance company. Each company is going to be slightly different with regards to the time frame they allow you to file a claim within, and in some cases, it can be as little as forty-eight hours following the incident.
After you commence the claim process your insurance company is going to send their adjuster to your home to assess the damages. This is where you need a public adjuster on your side. The insurance company adjuster’s job is to keep as much of the insurance company’s money as possible. We all know that insurance companies really don’t enjoy paying out claims and having the right public adjuster on your side can make all the difference in the world.
As with most any profession, public adjusters have certain rules that must be followed. First, they are forbidden from soliciting you in the same way attorneys are. You must reach out to them before they can go to work for you. The first thing a public adjuster is going to want from you is a copy of your FULL insurance policy. I stress the word full. If you call your provider and don’t specify what you want they will send you what are called the “deck” pages. These deck pages are typically fourteen to sixteen pages that just cover the basics of your policy. A copy of your full policy is going to be somewhere around seventy pages thick. Once you have a copy of the policy the public adjuster is going to review the entire policy to see what your true coverages are and begin the process of maximizing the benefit to you.
How do public adjusters get paid you ask? It’s very simple. They work off a percentage of the funding they recover for you, if they don’t win the claim they get nothing. I can tell you from personal experience when I had the flood in my house a few years ago, the public adjuster I hired did a bang up job and my house was put back together with all expenses covered after I paid the deductable. The other great thing about hiring an adjuster is one does not have to do any paperwork other than providing the required signatures. Again, we all know that the paperwork involved with insurance claims can be a nightmare.
I reached out to Scott Scovin and Karen Schiffermiller, public adjusters with Reliant Public Insurance Adjusters Inc. in Boca Raton Florida and posed the question, “What is the most important thing to consider when hiring a Public Adjuster?”
Their response was, “A public adjuster should assess the damages and review the insurance policy to determine coverage free of charge. After coverage is determined a detailed line item estimate with photographs of all the damage is prepared for the insurance company and the adjuster should be present for every inspection the insurance company conducts.”
Of course, as with hiring anyone, research the firm, read the reviews and ask for references when considering what public adjuster you are going to use to help you in your time of need. Until we meet again my friends, I’m sticking with Douglas Adams; the answer to the universe truly is 42!
House Whisperer out!!
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