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Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Public Adjuster

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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Public Adjuster

There are a few things that Action Public Adjusters believe you need to know when you are considering hiring a Public Adjuster to help you with your insurance claim. Regardless of the type of claim or the amount of damage that has been done to your property, it is important that you know what a Public Adjuster can and will do for you.

Whether a residential or commercial property damage claim, each claim is different, each insurance carrier and policy is different as well. As you have already realized, there is one thing that insurance carriers and policies have in common, it is hard to understand the spoken and written language.

If you are feeling over whelmed with damages, not understanding your insurance carrier and what is covered under your policy, Action Public Adjusters recommend you speak with a public adjuster for a free consultation. In most of the U.S., you have the right to hire a licensed public adjuster.

A licensed public adjuster works for you, not any insurance carrier, and works on contingent, meaning you do not pay them until your claim is settled with your insurance provider. It is the job of a public adjuster to represent you in documenting and negotiating your insurance claim with the insurance company's adjuster.

Once you decide to hire a public adjuster to help with your claim, now you need to make sure you will have an experienced, professional public adjuster with good references. All true professionals will not have an issue providing you with references and testimonials from past clients. You also want to hire someone that you not only trust but also feel comfortable working with.

Here Are Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring a Public Adjuster

1. Are you licensed to practice public Adjusting in my state? Be sure you are hiring a licensed Public Adjuster. Ask to see their individual Public Adjuster’s license. Some Public Adjusters work under the license of another individual or firm, rather than becoming qualified and credentialed individually.

2. Are you going to be handling my claim personally? Make sure you meet and speak with the Public Adjuster(s) that will be personally handling your claim. Not just a sales person we gets you to sign a contract.

3. How many claims have they personally handled in this area? How many claims are they personally working on now? Make sure the Public Adjuster has experience in your area as well as how many are they working on at this time. You want to make sure you are getting the attention your claim deserves.

4. How do they mitigate damages? Do they have experience with your insurance carrier? How many years have they been licensed, and how long have they been practicing in your state? Make sure the public adjuster is licensed in their name and have the experience you want.

5. Do they have references of clients in your area that were satisfied with the outcome of their claim? Do they have references of claims they settled in the past 3 years? In some cases Public Adjusters move around, such as following natural disasters and work under other agencies licenses.

6. Make sure to see their contract and you review and understand it fully. Take it home and review it and check into the references you receive. As far as fees are concerned, most Public Adjusters work on contingency fees that range from 5% to 15% of the money the insurer pays on your claim. Some states cap the fees Public Adjusters can charge and some states allowed them to negotiate. Some Public Adjusters will not charge any fees if they do not win your claim. Make sure the fee you agree to pay a Public Adjuster should take into account the size and type of your loss and the status of your claim. Make sure to agree up front if the Public Adjuster will get a percentage of monies the insurer already agreed in writing to pay but has not paid yet.

7. If I hire you, are you allowed to still communicate with your insurance company or their adjuster? Make sure this is discussed in the beginning. Some people want their Public Adjuster to handle 100% of their claim from beginning to end and some people want to be a little more hands on.

8. Will my insurance company make all payments directly to you or your company name? Or will they make all payments directly to me and I then pay you your fee? Do you collect fees on any Additional Living Expense and/or other categories of insurance benefits? Many Public Adjusters will not take a fee for these additions above your claim payment. Make sure you reach an understanding on this and it is clearly stated in your contract.

9. If for some reason I want to terminate the contract before a settlement has been finalized, can I, and how much will I owe you? Most Public Adjusters will charge you a fee for the work they have done.

10. Will you be working with an attorney on my claim? Some states Public Adjusters cannot charge contingent fees unless they are associated with an attorney because it is considered the unauthorized practice of law.

Take the Following into Consideration Before Signing A Contract:

1. Do you feel the Public Adjuster you interviewed is a good fit for you? You may be working closely with this person for many months, and they will be representing you with your insurer, so you should be comfortable with their communication style and personality.

2. Are their references good and genuine? Before hiring a Public Adjuster, do your due diligence and call and speak directly with at least two of their references. If a past client is happy with how the Public Adjusters handled their claim, they will be happy to confirm their experience. Some questions that you should ask the Here are a few of the questions you should ask the references:

Did ________ adjuster personally work on your claim? Did you feel good about the result?

Did __________ stay in touch with you, answer your questions and keep you informed during the process?

Did __________ take the pressure and stress off of you and get you a fair settlement?

Did __________ charge a fee on the entire claim? Was the claim calculated the amount of the settlement?

3. Don’t be rushed into signing a contract with a Public Adjuster. Some Public Adjusters can be aggressive with their sales pitch, especially in a major disaster. Always  make an informed decision. Make sure your state and more important your insurance carry allows you to hire your own Public Adjuster. Ask as many questions as you need so you will feel confident with your Public Adjuster. They will be with you from start to finish of your claim with your insurance company.  

4. Contractors are not authorized to represent you in insurance claim negotiations, nor are they licensed or regulated by your state insurance agency to do so. A lawyer can represent you, but generally their fees are much higher than a Public Adjuster.

5. After signing a contract, if you get into a dispute with your Public Adjuster, try to resolve it with them. If you cannot resolve your issues you can contact the Public Adjuster trade association in your state, contact the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, (NAPIA).

6. Claim adjusting needs to be handled by an licensed and experienced Public Adjuster. If you choose to hire a Public Adjuster, their experience mitigating your damages for your claim is extremely important. Even though you may have been with your insurance company for many years and never missed or had a late payment, they have their own adjusters and contractors. The truth is they look out for themselves and not the insured. You can mitigate your own damages but there are many clauses in your policy and if you do not know them or understand them you could actually submit an under value claim.

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