3 Reasons Not to Work With a Public Adjuster
Property owners find themselves filing an insurance claim after a disaster has led to damage of a property. Once a claim is made, the property owner may tinker with the option of working with an insurance adjuster to assess the extent of damage and help decide the insurance payout.
Three types of insurance adjusters are available to assist the policy holder: company insurance adjusters, independent insurance adjusters and public insurance adjusters. Of the three, property owners should think twice about working with a public insurance adjuster for the following reasons.
What does an insurance adjuster do?
Adjusters investigate damage to determine the value of the loss. People with property loss on their hands may not even realize the existence of insurance adjusters and the pivotal role they play in determining how much the insurance company will pay based on an individual’s insurance policy.
A fire may have ravaged a home, prompting the homeowner file an insurance claim, receive reimbursement and rebuild. Extensive damage may force a family to temporarily live elsewhere. In either case, property owners will want an experienced professional on their side for proper insurance reimbursement.
An insurance adjuster will step in once a claim is initially filed. The professional’s goal is to help the homeowner settle his claim quickly and fairly. But a public adjuster’s expertise comes at a hefty price, normally between 5 and 20 percent of the insurance payout.
1. Keep the full insurance reimbursement
One reason to avoid pursuing the services of a public insurance adjuster is to hold onto the full insurance payout. Forking over up to 20 percent of the insurance reimbursement to a public adjuster is significant, especially when that money could go to rebuilding the damaged property.
Consider the example of a home ravaged by a tornado. If the policy limit on the home is $300,000 and $125,000 on personal belongings, the homeowner may receive $425,000. Ten percent, $42,500, will be paid to the public insurance adjuster, even if he does little to help the homeowner’s case.
Why pay the exorbitant sum to a public adjuster when an insurance company adjuster will provide an equivalent assessment of damage and determine the losses for no fee at all? Hiring a public adjuster will not necessarily yield a better outcome for the homeowner.
The tidy sum of $42,500 might have been better spent on rebuilding the home or replacing personal property to its full value. Even worse, if the homeowner discovers he is underinsured, the individual has less funds than what is needed to completely rebuild.
2. Avoid incorrect information
The public adjuster is not an employee of the insurance company, like a company insurance adjuster is. It is possible that the public adjuster will erringly offer poor advice, especially when the professional is not knowledgeable about individual policy restrictions, coverage or requirements.
The unwitting homeowner is led down a troublesome path of unnecessary frustration, added expense and a loss of time when the public adjuster is not equipped with the right information. A homeowner is better off filling out insurance paperwork and quantifying losses on his own.
3. Prevent a lengthy claims process
Hiring a public adjuster middleman is also not advised because some industry professionals attempt to discourage positive associations between claimants and their respective insurance companies. What results is an unnecessarily prolonged claims process, which hampers the insured’s ability to rebuild.
Unscrupulous public adjusters have incentive for drawing out a claims process. They are paid, after all, a percentage of the insurance payout. A public adjuster may see financial opportunity in falsely inflating claims payments with the insurance company and needlessly extending negotiations.
Some public adjusters tend to solidify good relationships—but with shady attorneys and contractors who take advantage of community disasters, correspondingly inflating the prices of services. Plus, a public adjuster cannot help if a property owner needs to hire an attorney to settle a claim.
Homeowners whose property has undergone severe damage are better off directly working with a company insurance adjuster. By heeding the advice of a knowledgeable company adjuster, a homeowner will stay on course and have more funds to invest in rebuilding.
What to Know Before Hiring a Public Adjuster
Property owners who feel compelled to work with a public adjuster should proceed with caution. Never hire a door-to-door adjuster, especially after a community disaster has occurred. Interview multiple public adjusters rather than settling on the first one who offers an unbeatable price.
Credentials are important. Take care to hire a public adjuster who has been tested, is licensed and is bonded to practice as an adjuster. A Certified Professional Public Insurance Adjuster has passed an exam to serve as an adjuster and has worked in the field for at least five years.
Red flags to be wary of when working with a public adjuster include an insistence to work with a specific restoration service, being unable to provide current references or legitimate certifications and asking for an unreasonable upfront fee, which is followed by the failure to perform services.
Work with a Reputable Restoration Company
Property disasters are stressful times. Homeowners who work with reputable restoration companies, like ServiceMaster EMT, are better able to surmount their challenges. As a well-known residential restoration service, we are prepared to tackle your property damage and work with your insurance.
ServiceMaster EMT is equipped with the skilled manpower, cutting-edge equipment and necessary certifications to restore any residential property ruined by mold, fire or water. Our trained technicians provide comprehensive services, including mold remediation, fire damage restoration and water damage restoration.
Mold, fire and water damage spread stealthily and rapidly. Once you notice the first signs of damage, it is critical to call ServiceMaster EMT immediately. Our qualified crews will arrive quickly and take steps to halt the damage before it reaches other areas of the property.
Residents in the surrounding communities of Southern California, Southeast Nevada, and Northern Arizona, continually trust ServiceMaster EMT for our rapid response and effective restoration techniques. We provide emergency restoration services and are available on a 24-hour basis, 365 days of the year.
Give us a call at 800-376-6678 at any time for emergency restoration services.