A disaster is stressful, but dealing with an insurance claim is frequently more stressful and time-consuming. Most insurance companies expect you to fill out the claim request within a particular amount of time after the damage occurs to get a successful payout. Expecting the policyholder to do this in a timely matter accurately is a bullying tactic that insurance companies often use. This expectation causes policyholders to become more susceptible to making critical errors when under emotional pressure and stress. The insurance company rarely addresses mistakes, miscalculations, or oversights made by the policyholder. In turn, this can have a significant impact on the amount of money paid out to the policyholder. Typically, the policyholder will then, at this point, hire a public adjusting firm.
Let’s start with – what is a public adjuster?
A public adjuster works on behalf of the policyholder during insurance claims and negotiation. Public adjusters are typically hired when homeowners or business owners are emotionally stressed or don’t have time to go back and forth with the insurance company after damage occurs. We recommend hiring a certified public adjusting firm through organizations like Gapia or Napia.
In addition to stress and time, public adjusters are hired when a policyholder is not receiving the payout promised in their insurance contract. Reputable public adjusters are insurance law experts and are more proficient when getting the settlement owed from the insurance company. Public adjusters are not affiliated with the insurance company and have the policyholder’s best interest in mind. To understand how public adjusters are compensated, read more here.
What should I expect from a public adjuster?
After deciding to hire a public adjuster, it’s essential to communicate your expectations. The public adjuster will handle your claim, on your behalf, for the duration of the claim process.
Individually Examining Your Claim: When interviewing public adjusters, ensure that the person you’re speaking with is who will work directly with your case. Typically, the first thing a public adjuster does is inspects your claim. The public adjuster will extensively review your insurance policy and search for possible issues and loopholes. We recommend that your public adjuster understand every detail of your claim so that they can maximize your settlement.
Evaluating Damage to Property: During this step, the public adjuster will view the damaged property. The public adjuster is responsible for communicating a certain amount of damages to adequate professionals. Also, we advise informing your public adjuster about the personal effects that you lost during the incident that is valuable or covered within your insurance policy.
Documentation: The public adjuster will need to bring property damaged and what is covered in your insurance policy together. They need to note and document everything that they feel is included in your claim and establish the areas that may be used against your request. The gathered evidence for your claim needs to be stable and prominent.
Presenting and Mediation: During this stage of the process, the public adjuster will provide information to the insurance company. If your public adjuster does not feel that the proposed payout is sufficient, negotiation will begin. Reminder – your public adjuster will represent on your behalf at these meetings and will actively pursue the negotiations for a maximized payout from the insurance company. If additional costs or damages are notified at this stage of the negotiation, the claim can be refiled.
Maximizing Your Settlement: It is crucial to remember that your public adjuster wants to maximize your settlement. At the end of the negotiating stage, the public adjuster can’t increase the payout. If the public adjuster tried to pursue expanding the compensation more, likely, the negotiated payout would decrease.
For fees associated with hiring a public adjuster – please read our article explaining the fee structure and cost to hire a public adjusting firm.
Timeline: The public adjuster cannot control the amount of time that the claim process takes. Depending on the policy, it is possible for additional costs and complications to occur. These costs and potential complications have to be resolved before the final payout can be completed. Furthermore, the larger the case, the longer that case will take to settle. If your claim involves a large amount of money, you should anticipate a significant length of time for the public adjuster to work on your behalf to maximize your settlement.
When you decide to hire a public adjuster, keep in mind that you will work closely with them. Before choosing a public adjuster that will represent you during your claim, ensure that you can trust them to handle your claim appropriately. The expectations should be set and communicated upfront to prevent future misunderstandings. Be sure to research the public adjuster before entering into a contractual agreement.
At Strategic Claim Consultants, we work on your behalf to increase your claim’s payout, reduce frustration, and expedite your restoration. Thousands of residential and business insurance policyholders have trusted us with their claims – and we’ve been successful in getting them the settlement they’re entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can understand your needs, and you can determine if we are the right fit to represent you!