Common Sense Tips for Hiring the Best Public Adjuster for You.
OK, so you’ve made the decision to hire a public insurance adjuster. Most likely, if you’ve experienced major damage (like fire or smoke damage) or been caught up in extensive damage from a windstorm, then you probably are being solicited by several public adjusters. Like any business, all adjusters are not created equal. They have different experience levels, handle different types of claims and have various levels of experience with different insurance carriers. Screening for adjusters that have experience handling your type of claim and most importantly that you are comfortable turning your claim over to should not be taken lightly. Always remember that you are the client and do not be intimidated by high pressure tactics or industry lingo. If you’re uncomfortable with someone, there is probably a good reason for it. So it’s just as important to trust your intuition.
Their ability to find and market to you says nothing about their abilities to serve you. ·
In California, no one should be contacting you if you Between the hours of 6:00 PM and 8:00 AM. You however have no restrictions on when you can contact a public adjuster if you feel immediate assistance is beneficial. ·
We believe that just as a good doctor must first look at a patient before treating them, the same should apply to public adjusting. We need to meet you, see your loss, review your records (the policy among other things) before outlining a plan to get you back on track for a full recovery. ·
Contractors or restoration companies posing as public adjusters who tell you they can adjust your claim or negotiate with your insurance company are committing a 3rd degree felony in California. Just as a contractor cannot adjust your claim, a public adjuster cannot have a financial interest in your loss except for their approved public adjusting contract fee. You can confirm an adjuster is licensed in Californian by visiting The California Department of insurance. ·
Especially ask for references to clients with similar claims. Does your adjuster deal with your insurance company on a regular basis? Your public adjuster’s reputation with the insurance carrier can dramatically affect your claim. Make some calls and speak to references. You can usually find out about experience and reputation from folks in your community. ·
We have seen some serious abuse in this area. In some cases these firms’ contracts will require you to sign over your settlement check to them. Sometimes they will spend less fixing your property and pocket the rest. In other cases we have seen overreaching and unconscionable bills run-up which the insurance company then refuses to pay because the policyholder alone signed the work authorization without authorization from the insurance company. This often results in a construction lien being placed against the property. In some cases, contractors offering to estimate the damages are practicing public adjusting without a license which is also against the law. Our only advice here is to be careful. Always maintain control of your settlement check and keep the estimating and repair parties separate. Read and understand any work authorization form presented to you before signing it. ·
Of course the type, size and complexity of the loss will impact the cost. Most reputable adjusters charge between 5% and 15%. Anything less should be a red flag that the adjuster will not put in the proper time or effort in handling your claim or that you don’t need an adjuster for this particular claim. Also be aware that in a declared state of emergency by an authorized government agency, public adjuster contracts are limited to the percentage that you can be charged. ·
Don’t sign anything unless you have read it and understand it. Our life experience is that a good night sleep will often help resolve any conflicts, questions, thoughts or concerns you may have. Having a professional public adjuster on your side is extremely valuable and key to the success of your claim. Your insurance carrier has their representatives and adjusters working for them. Shouldn’t you?