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Public insurance experts are worth their weight in gold. At least that’s the assessment of Carole Lieberman, whose Los Angeles home was damaged by ash and soot after the Malibu Woolsey fire ravaged southern California in 2018.
She filed a claim with her home insurance. His insurance company only offered him $ 25,000, which would have covered only a fraction of his repair costs. So she hired an adjuster, an independent professional who can help you settle an insurance claim.
Unlike insurance company adjusters, who don’t charge the policyholder anything more, public adjusters are independent and charge between 10% and 20% of your settlement for their services. They work on your behalf to make sure you get what you are entitled to.
“My public adjuster is a champion who continues to fight for me in proving to the adjuster that what we are asking is valid,” says Lieberman, a medical practitioner. “We are at over $ 500,000 [in reimbursement] now and count.
Lieberman needed an adjuster because his claim was reduced by his insurance company. Hire a public claims adjuster for any major, complex or costly problem Home Insurance claim can pay. Some say you should call an adjuster any time you think your insurance company is bypassing you on a claim.
How does a public insurance expert work?
Unlike an insurance company’s adjuster, a public adjuster exclusively defends policyholders, says Tim Cornett, president of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. They are licensed and trained insurance professionals.
“The financial interests of insurance companies are best served by convincing policyholders to accept the lowest possible remuneration,” he says. “The financial interests of public adjusters are directly linked to the interests of policyholders to receive full and fair compensation on insurance claims. “
Cornett says public adjusters are often more thorough in their damage analysis than corporate adjusters. This is because of their training and also because their loyalty is to you, the policyholder, and not the insurance company.
He says there is no magic claim amount you should call an adjuster for. Instead, consider a public adjuster when you feel like you’re not getting your full claim amount. An adjuster can also help you keep track of paperwork and deadlines.
What happens with a big home insurance claim
A large complaint can become confusing very quickly. Suppose a hurricane hits your house and you live in a hotel. Your insurance company might assign three different experts to work on your claim: one for home damage, one for your personal property, and one for additional living expenses.
Unfortunately, preparing and submitting a successful claim is a science. This requires a meticulous approach to ensure a fair settlement. An adjuster can explain the process during a confusing and stressful time and work on your behalf to handle meetings, emails, phone calls, and paper documents that arise from a large claim.
“You are at a disadvantage when you have major damage to your home or a complete loss to your home,” says James Guercio, owner of Rubin & Rosen Adjusters in New York. “You are faced with a home insurance claims process that could easily drag on for awhile, require detailed paperwork, and exhaust you mentally and physically. “
To make matters worse, most families know little or nothing about insurance, let alone the claims process. Thus, in the event of a major loss, they find themselves in uncharted territory and deal with several adjusters.
“Hiring a public claims adjuster will put you on an equal footing with your insurance company,” says Guercio.
Not all claims require a public adjuster. Many claims are common and an adjuster is more than capable of getting the job done efficiently.
“In most cases, a public adjuster is not necessary,” says Jeff Zander, CEO of Zander Insurance. “But an insurance adjuster can be helpful or worth the cost in the event of a very large loss or total loss of a home.”
And remember, you can always ask for another adjuster if you don’t like the one assigned to you.
Where to find a public fitter
There are several ways to find a reliable public adjuster.
Word of mouth recommendation is one of the best ways to find a reliable fitter. If someone has done a good job for a friend or family member, chances are they are working hard for you. Good adjusters often rely on word of mouth recommendations for new business. Therefore, if you know a good adjuster, tell a friend.
A regional association
A state body like the California Association of Public Insurance Experts, the Florida Association of Public Insurance Experts or the Texas Association of Public Insurance Experts can guide you to one of its members. These associations often have strict membership conditions and their experts must adhere to a code of ethics.
The National Association of Public Insurance Experts
The national organization of claims adjusters has a directory on its site where you can find the closest member. Here, too, members must meet requirements and adhere to a code of conduct.
Do the math on public insurance experts
For any home insurance claim, an adjuster may be able to tell you the claims money you’re entitled to that you didn’t even know about. After all, you can’t expect a homeowner to be an expert in insurance. An insurance adjuster will also continue to work when you are exhausted from the whole process. By maximizing your claim, they can pay for it themselves.
For a smaller claim, an adjuster may be able to find wording in your insurance contract that may make a $ 1,000 claim of $ 10,000 or more.
Of course, you can do all the work yourself. But if you have a job or are recovering from a disaster, do you really have the time or the energy?