A public adjuster is an independent insurance professional that a policyholder can hire to help resolve an insurance claim on their behalf. They are the only property loss professionals who work solely for the policyholder, not the insurance company. Individuals and businesses may choose to hire a public adjuster when they need help filing a claim or believe that the claim amount offered by an insurance company is incorrect. The landlord pays them, usually a percentage of the claim amount. A public adjuster will evaluate the damage to your property, help determine the extent of the repairs, and evaluate the replacement value of those repairs.
They manage the claim from start to finish, including inspecting and analyzing the damage to your home, reviewing your insurance policy, and gathering estimates and data to support the claim. They serve and represent you (the policyholder), not the insurance company, similar to a consumer advocate. State regulations generally require public adjusters to take courses, pass an exam, obtain a license, and participate in continuing education. Public adjusters can charge between 5% and 20% of their final settlement, depending on the amount of work involved and the complexity of the claim. Many homeowners choose to hire a public adjuster if the damage is extensive or if it is difficult to determine how much damage has occurred. In addition, public adjusters evaluate the loss of property on behalf of the policyholder and help the policyholder file insurance claims in exchange for a fee.
If you have problems with your insurance company, or if your personal or professional situation makes it difficult for you to manage all the details, you can hire a claims assistance professional. The other way to find a public adjuster is to get a recommendation from friends or family. A public adjuster may be more important if you have a large, complicated claim or if you can't seem to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the insurance company. Property losses can also result in other types of losses, such as business revenues, that public adjusters can evaluate. According to one report, those who used public adjusters for non-catastrophic claims received settlements that were 58.4 percent higher than those who did not use them. Before hiring a public adjuster, be sure to review your policy with them and visit the United Policyholder Claims Help Library.