Has your home been damaged by a hurricane or storm? The first step is always to take photos of the damage and secure your home from further damage. From here, you have two choices:
- Report the claim to your insurance company
- Call Coastal Claims
Insurance company adjusters work for your insurance company; their goal is to get your home repaired as cheaply as possible. Public insurance adjusters work on behalf of policyholders. Individuals and businesses can opt to hire these licensed professionals when they need help filing a claim or if they believe a claim amount offered by their insurance company was inadequate.
Public adjusters can file and negotiate claims for fire, wind, flood, hurricane damage, damage due to other perils, and even loss of business income if caused by property damage.
What A Public Adjuster Does for You
Public insurance adjusters are experts in the details and language of insurance policies and filing and adjusting claims. They often have prior experience in construction, insurance or a related field; here’s what a public adjuster does:
- Performs an independent evaluation of a client’s property loss
- Gather detailed claim and insurance policy information that may be complicated for a policyholder to get together
- Submit initial and supplemental claims on the policyholder’s behalf and track the claim’s progress
- Help clients negotiate with contractors and insurers to gain the best outcome for the client.
Having an adjuster throughout the process saves the policyholder significant time. Public adjusters are also experts in the insurance industry. Just like you would not install the roof on your home, you should not negotiate the maze of the insurance industry without professional assistance.
Should You Use a Public Adjuster?
You should always consider hiring a public adjuster, especially if the claim is for a significant amount. As a policyholder, you have nothing to lose. Coastal Claims will visit properties free of charge to help determine the severity of damage and whether you should file an insurance claim.
Even if a policyholder feels good about the dollar value of their property loss, it’s good practice to get a second opinion. Upon visiting the property, Public Adjusters often find that a policyholder’s loss estimate is far too low.
How much does a public adjuster cost?
Many public adjusters will visit the loss site at no cost to determine whether they will work with a policyholder on a case. However, they charge a fee for their subsequent work, including filing insurance claims.
The public adjuster’s fee is usually a percentage of the amount the insurance carrier pays for the policyholder’s claim. The fee percentage may vary between adjusters and is generally capped by local or state law. For example, fees in Florida cannot exceed 20% of a reopened or supplemental claim limit. There also is a 10% fee limit for claims resulting from an official state of emergency, as declared by Florida’s governor.
How to Choose an Insurance Adjuster
Before you hire a public adjuster, check their credentials. Public adjusters must be licensed in every state where they practice, and like some other professionals, they must complete continuing education to maintain their licensure.
Don’t hire an unlicensed contractor or attorney for claim adjustment services. Practicing without a license is not only against the law; having that license ensures your adjuster has the knowledge and qualifications to handle your claim.
Will your adjuster be handling your claim personally?
Some public adjustment firms send one adjuster to do an estimate and another to follow up and thoroughly analyze a claim. As a policyholder, you might prefer to work personally with a single adjuster, but having a firm send more than one person can be a good thing. One particular adjuster might take over the claim simply because they have more experience with a specific type of damage, like fires or flooding.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Even if your claim has been paid or closed, you probably don’t need an attorney. Licensed public insurance adjusters can handle your dispute and can assist in reopening a claim with the insurer and filing a supplemental claim for additional payments.
You may have to turn to litigation if your public adjuster negotiates with an insurance company but still believes you’re owed a larger settlement. Coastal Claims has relationships with several law firms should this step be necessary.
Coastal Claims Services works for the insured, not the insurance company, and offers residential and commercial services in multiple states. We are licensed property loss specialists and can help you get the best results from your claim. Our professional public adjusters will be by your side throughout every step of the claims process.
This blog is not intended to be professional advice, and all services are not available in every state. We follow all state guidelines. Contact Coastal Claims for more information on our services: 1-844-2File-Now.