What exactly is a public adjuster? A public adjuster is a consumer advocate for home & business owners when they have damage to their property, covered by insurance, to make sure they are treated and, more importantly, paid fairly by their insurance company. We are licensed & bonded by the state to provide professional representation to the policyholder to ensure they receive the maximum settlement, based on what the policy language states.
What types of claims do you handle? We handle claims for damage to your property. From Homeowner and Renters claims to Landlord or Dwelling claims to Commercial and Business claims. We do not deal with auto, health or life insurance.
What are the benefits of using a public adjuster on my claim? Handling an insurance claim can be extremely frustrating and very time consuming. Dealing with a large company that has an experience in an industry most people are not familiar with puts the policyholder at a disadvantage right from the start. A public adjuster has the experience & expertise needed to evaluate the coverage, document the loss, ensure policy conditions are met, prepare a damage estimate, present the claim properly, schedule appointments, handle telephone calls, write letters, and obtain experts as needed to support the claim. Just as you would go to an accountant to maximize your tax refund, you would use a public adjuster to maximize your claim settlement. Think of it as insurance for your insurance!
How and when do you get paid? We work on a contingency so we only get paid when we are able get you paid. This ensures we work hard for you on your claim. We are paid a percentage of the settlement. That percentage is determined by the severity of the claim. Payment comes from the settlement of the claim so there is no money out of pocket. You can keep your check book and credit cards in your wallet!
At what point should I bring a public adjuster in on my claim? A public adjuster can come in at any point in the claim process. They can be the first point of contact, they can come in after the insurance company has been contacted, or they can come in after a claim has been closed out and re-open the claim to ensure a proper settlement. Contacting a public adjuster before a claim is submitted can be helpful for a few reasons. First, a public adjuster can review your policy to make sure you actually have coverage for the damage that occurred. Second, they can put together an estimate of the damages and make sure the claim is even worth submitting to the insurance company. Lastly, if it is determined that there is coverage and the damage is significant enough to notify the insurance company, they can present the claim properly, which is an important part of obtaining a fair settlement.
How does the process work? Once you reach out to us, we will come out to look over your situation. We'll educate you a bit about your insurance and what is covered, and then review your policy to make sure you have coverage for your damage. If you decide that you'd like for us to represent you on your claim, we will fill out some paperwork allowing us to move forward. The papers will then get submitted to our office to be logged and an appointment will be scheduled for our field adjuster to come out and take a closer look at everything. He will put together an estimate and, if the insurance company hasn't already been contacted, determine if it there is enough damage to submit a claim. If there is, we will take care of submitting the claim for you and letting the insurance company know we will be representing you. If the claim was already notified, then we will move forward with notifying your insurance company of our involvement. From there, we will handle writing letters, making phone calls, scheduling appointments, meeting with the insurance adjuster, and negotiating with the insurance company so that you don't have to worry.
How long will it take to settle my claim? Due to the number of variables that affect a claim, there is no good answer for this question. Each and every claim is different. On average, a claim can take anywhere from 3-6 months to close. Some may close quicker and some may take longer. There are several factors that can delay a claim. For example, how busy, responsive and/or cooperative the insurance adjuster is. The lenders responsiveness and/or what they are requiring to sign off on the settlement check can also cause delays in receiving the actual payout.
Will my insurance rate go up or will I get dropped if I submit a claim? No. Contrary to what most people think, the insurance rates for property insurance are not related to claims at all. Insurance rate increases affect large groups of people at one time and are typically caused by the need for balancing out what is being paid out in claims after a large disaster occurs. Submitting a claim can take away a claims free discount or add a surcharge to your policy, whichever your insurance company participates in. That will make the premium go up and stay that way for a period of three years. After the three year period, if you have had no other claims, the surcharge should be removed or the claims free discount added back on. The total increased amount over the three year period is usually minimal compared to what you would get paid out for your claim so it would not be beneficial to hold off on submitting a claim just for that reason. Your insurance company cannot drop you for submitting a claim either. They can choose to non-renew the policy for major claims, such as a fire, as they may view you as a high risk after an event like that. Even if you receive a letter of non-renewal, you have ten days to respond and contest it.
Will my insurance company come after me if I use a public adjuster? No. We like to put it this way...If the insurance companies paid their policyholders properly for their damages in the first place, public adjusters wouldn't be needed. Unfortunately, that is not the case, which is why public adjusters exist today.
I've been with my insurance company for 30 years and haven't had a claim. Why wouldn't they pay me properly? While we like to think that our loyalty to our insurance company would be equivalent to their loyalty to us, that is just not the case. Insurance companies, like any other company, are in business to make a profit. Paying out insurance claims lessens their profit. So, in an effort to increase profits, often times claims do not get paid the way they should. Sadly, some do not get paid out at all, even when they should. That's where we come in!
I don't want to take advantage of the insurance company. I just want to get the damage fixed. We hear this often. Our job is to make sure you are paid properly for the damage you have based on our knowledge of the industry, the damage, and what your policy states. We cannot get anything paid that is not already covered under the policy that you are paying for. Therefore, it would be difficult for us to get any more than what your policy allows for.
There isn't that much damage. I'll just pay out of pocket for the repairs. While not all claims are worth submitting to the insurance company, it doesn't hurt to have us take a look at what you have going on to make sure there isn't more damage than what you think. The average home and business owner is not familiar with what it would take to make, what appears to be, a small repair. You may see a water stain on the ceiling and only think to buy a can of paint to cover it. It is likely that there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. You would need to find where the water is coming from so it doesn't get worse or happen again. You'd need to take into account for any damaged drywall and insulation. And maybe more depending on the situation. We do not recommend submitting every little thing to your insurance company but, if there is a fair amount of damage, it makes sense to utilize your insurance. That is what you pay for each month. Why pay for insurance if you are never going to use it?
I can fix it myself so there's no need to submit an insurance claim? Insurance claims are paid out the same way regardless of whether you make the repairs yourself or you hire someone else to do it. You are not paid less just because you know how to repair the damage or because you happen to have a friend or family member that is willing to help you out without charging you what you would normally pay a contractor to do it. If you have a valid claim, it make sense to submit the claim to the insurance company. There is no need to pay out of pocket for things that are covered under your insurance policy. That is what it is there for!
If I accept the check from the insurance company, does that mean that my claim is done? No. Many people hold on to their check from the insurance company for fear that it will be seen as acceptance of what they are offering. Cashing or depositing a check received by your insurance company for your claim does not mean that the claim is over or that you are agreeing with what they are paying. Insurance companies will usually put together a low estimate to start off with and issue a check for that amount. If the policyholder does not express a concern with what has been offered, the insurance company will likely close the claim out. It is important to point out any discrepancies you find between the insurance estimate you received and what you feel was not taken into consideration. An insurance claim often involves a lot of back and forth and negotiations prior to being properly paid out and settled. That can be a frustrating task and one that is difficult for someone who isn't well versed in what the policy should be paying out to begin with. Fortunately, our adjusters are highly trained and certified in all areas to make sure they have the knowledge they need to ensure everything that is supposed to be paid is paid. That is what we do best!