But because the cost of repairs could be so high, insurance companies sometimes shock their policyholders by not providing what they believe to be adequate to cover their costs. What can a homeowner do at that point?
That is when a public adjuster can step in and help the homeowner. Public adjusters negotiate on behalf of their client, the homeowner, and help them document the damage, understand the legal battles they could be facing, and get the settlement they need to make repairs. More specifically, a public adjuster:
- Reads a homeowner’s insurance policy and explains it to them in plain terms. They will be able to see if there are any loopholes or issues in your policy that could make getting your settlement more challenging.
- Goes to your property to evaluate the damage and document everything that they find. They may also ask you about personal items that were lost during the catastrophic event, such as laptops, medical devices, and other valuables.
- Speak to the insurance company on your behalf by presenting evidence for your claim and mediating when necessary. They will pursue negotiations and the maximum payout possible from the insurance company.
You will be working closely with your public adjuster the entire time, and unlike the insurance company, they will be happy to answer questions for you. Also, public adjusters typically have a background in construction, engineering, or architecture. In addition to explaining the insurance policy to you, they can also shed light on what it will take to repair the damage done to your property.
Does a public adjuster charge for their services?
Your public adjuster will not get paid unless you get the settlement you deserve from the insurance company. Public adjusters are paid a percentage of the settlement that they can get for your claim. Again, each state sets its own laws regarding public adjusters. In the state of Colorado, public adjusters are not allowed to charge more than 10% of any insurance settlement or proceeds.
What is the difference between an insurance adjuster and a public adjuster?
Public adjusters are independent contractors that represent policyholders in the settlement of homeowner insurance claims. These are individual representatives who advocate on behalf of the policyholder.
The difference between a public adjuster and an insurance adjuster is that the insurance company hires its own adjusters who work on their behalf. An adjuster for the insurance company is more concerned with saving their employer money, which improves their standing with their employer.
Both a public adjuster and an insurance adjuster evaluate and assess the damage reported in claims and develop a proposal for repairs, including the costs, but the public adjuster is hired by the homeowner to advocate on their behalf. Public adjusters are not affiliated with any insurance company. Some public adjusters are freelancers, while others may work out of firms specialising in these services.
Does a public adjuster need to be licensed before practising?
Each state sets its own laws regarding the licensing of public adjusters. Public Adjusters recommend that you research whether or not the adjusters are required to hold a licence in your state. For example, in Colorado, a public adjuster must be at least 18 years of age, have filled out a completed application, hold a licence; non-residents have to go through a special process. They are also required to have an adjuster bond for $20,000.