If you're in the process of filing a claim with your insurance company, it may be worth hiring a public appraiser. This could be especially true if you consider that the insurance adjuster doesn't include all the costs needed to repair your claim. Will your adjuster handle your claim personally? Some public adjustment firms may send one adjuster to make an estimate and another to thoroughly follow up and analyze a claim. As a policyholder, you may prefer to work personally with a single appraiser, but having a company send more than one person may not be a bad thing.
Another adjuster could handle a claim simply because they have more experience with a certain type of damage. For example, an adjuster may know that your company is interested in working on your fire claim, but another company adjuster may have more experience with fire damage and process your claim from then on. When you file a claim, you may be fine on your own, or you may do better if you hire help. It's an individual decision that you must make based on your own circumstances.
A licensed public adjuster can be your representative and advocate in the process of “adjusting (processing) your claim” and “settling” it (paying it). As with any professional, some Public Adjusters are better than others. The last thing you need when you've suffered a major loss are additional problems, so evaluate carefully before hiring. Resist high-pressure sales pitches and don't hire prematurely.
There are a few cases where you might consider hiring a public insurance adjuster. When you work with a public appraiser, they handle everything for you, making it a good solution for people who don't have time to deal with a stressful claims process. A public appraiser looks after your best interests and not those of your insurance company. By hiring a public appraiser, you can level the playing field by having someone on your side who can fight for what you're entitled to.
One of the main advantages of using a public appraiser is the likelihood of a higher settlement offer. They understand the fine print of your home insurance policy. They have the skills, knowledge, and experience to negotiate with insurance adjusters. There are some cases where hiring a public appraiser may not be worth the time and expense it requires.
For example, you probably don't need to hire an appraiser if your home has a minor setback, such as minor damage caused by smoke from a stove fire. However, you may want to hire an adjuster if your home suffers serious damage, such as damage caused by an earthquake or flood due to a broken pipe. Claims for damage caused by floods, fires, smoke, wind and hurricanes, as well as other hazards, can be filed and negotiated by public appraisers. They have a different work ethic, most public appraisers file ALL claim documentation, investigate and examine the property (which includes tons of measurements, photographs and notes), write a professional, detailed and damage estimate and report, meet with insurance staff more than once in the property to research, discuss and make countless phone calls and emails throughout the process.
In addition, public insurance appraisers evaluate the loss of property on behalf of the policyholder and help the policyholder file insurance claims in exchange for a fee. Sometimes it's not feasible for a public adjuster to devote their time and resources to managing a minor claim. Public appraisers speak the language and can take the burden off you because the process is time consuming and there is a lot of technical terminology that can be difficult to understand, says Bach, a lawyer who co-founded United Policyholders in 1991 after an urban wildfire in Northern California. Some landlords choose to hire a public claims adjuster if they have had bad experiences with claims in the past.
Similarly, if you're simply too busy to manage the claims process on your own and need help, a public adjuster may be an option for you. The average person may not be familiar with the minute details of a home insurance policy, but that's where a public insurance adjuster can help. Generally, a public adjuster will charge a percentage of what the policyholder's insurance company ultimately pays for a claim. Instead, consider going to a public adjuster when you feel like you're not receiving the full amount of your claim.
Robert is a UP volunteer and licensed public appraiser based in the San Francisco Bay Area with Crown Adjusting, LLC. Public appraisers can be especially useful when a claim is too large or too complex, as is common in natural disasters, such as wildfires, earthquakes, or floods. The policyholder is responsible for hiring the public adjuster to help ensure the best possible claim resolution for your case. For large or complex claims, such as a fire damage claim, it is recommended to consult a public adjuster.
Visit the United policyholder claims help library, read your policy and endorsements (extras), and be sure to review the policy with any public adjuster you are considering hiring before actually hiring them. If the public adjuster questions the damage or how much it might cost to repair them, they may decide to seek a second opinion from a contractor. . .