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How Much Does a Public Adjuster Charge, and Are Their Costs Worth It?

August 1, 2020

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A public adjuster is an independent insurance professional who works on behalf of a claimant, negotiating insurance company payouts and settlements. Hiring an insurance adjuster is an excellent way to maximize your benefits and receive the most funds possible after a fire, flood, storm, or other such loss.

Most public adjusters charge a percent of the payout they secure on your behalf and might adjust those percentages according to your settlement. For example, an insurance adjuster might charge 20% for payouts between $10,000 and $100,000 and then 12% or 15% on payouts over $100,000. Charging a percentage of your settlement allows an adjuster to work hard to secure a maximum payout on your behalf.

While some homeowners might balk at paying out 20% of their settlement, you might note what an insurance adjuster does, how they can maximize that payout for you, and why they’re often worth their fees and charges. It’s also helpful to note a few common mistakes homeowners make after suffering property damage and when dealing with an insurance company, so you can avoid them yourself!

insurance adjuster in Atlanta

Consider, too, that many adjusters offer free or low-cost consultations, so you can ask them any question you have about the insurance settlement process and their work on your behalf. You can then make an informed decision about hiring such a professional and know you’ve done everything possible to secure the highest payout from your insurance company.

When to Hire a Public Adjuster and Why Their Fees Are Worth It!

While it’s every property owner’s decision when to hire a public adjuster, consider some scenarios that might suggest it’s time to call an insurance adjuster and why their work for you is so valuable.

  • When a fire or flood damages building materials, appliances, electronics, and personal belongings so that they need replacing rather than cleanup and repair, you might consider calling a claims adjuster. Since new items are often more expensive than repairing damaged items, an insurance company might not want to reimburse you for any such replacements.
  • Note, too, that a claims adjuster ensures you receive as much compensation as possible but can also explain why you might not receive the full replacement costs you expect. As an example, a stove top fire might destroy your home’s stove; if it’s several years old, you might receive a settlement for its value and not for the price of a brand new appliance!
  • Fires and floods often require professional cleanup and repairs. Soot and ash need heavy-duty vacuum cleaners for proper removal and water-damaged drywall, carpeting, and framing also need full inspection and potential replacement. A public adjuster can negotiate with an insurance company if they hesitate to reimburse you the cost of such professional cleaning.
  • Proper restoration after a flood or fire might also mean odor neutralizing, fresh paint, and other services, including services you might need in the future such as mold removal. Again, your insurance company might not offer to reimburse you for services they claim are not part of the restoration process, and an insurance adjuster can negotiate to have them included, if possible.
  • Homeowners often have difficulty listing and valuing personal belongings destroyed in a flood or fire, including clothing, furniture, artwork, small electronics and appliances, and the like. An insurance adjuster can ensure you’ve included all such items and also help explain the best way to value them when making a claim.
  • In some cases, it’s best that a homeowner and his or her family stay out of the home during repairs and restoration. An insurance adjuster can note if your hotel and travel expenses are covered by your policy and ensure you include them in your claim, when possible.
  • Some homeowners and property owners have very complicated insurance policies with various clauses, exclusions, and the like. If you don’t understand that policy, call a public adjuster! One step in their process is to review the policy itself and understand your coverage and other details; he or she can then explain those details to you, which might help you better understand their process in ensuring you receive the maximum payout possible.
  • While a homeowner might mistakenly assume that their property is worth far more than it is, or might overlook certain exclusions and exceptions in their policy, call an insurance adjuster if you think your insurance company is offering a “lowball” settlement. Your adjuster can review the settlement offer, your policy, and property damage details, and note if they should move forward with negotiations.

Avoid These Mistakes After a Fire, Flood, or Other Such Disaster!

Hiring a public adjuster is one of the best things you can do after a fire, flood, or other such disaster, as his or her work ensures you receive a maximum payout from your insurance company. One mistake homeowners make when hiring an adjuster, however, is trying to clean their home or do some repairs before he or she arrives! This should be avoided as the adjuster takes into account the extent of damage and potential repair costs when negotiating with an insurance agent.

insurance adjuster in Atlanta

A homeowner should also understand that an insurance adjuster will work hard to get them the maximum benefits they’re owed but this doesn’t mean they’ll automatically secure the full value of your policy. As said, your policy might include reimbursement for the value of items, not their replacement with something new or more valuable, or there might be exclusions you’re overlooking. Avoid the mistake of overspending on new items or other such purchases while your adjuster is negotiating with the insurance company, lest they return with a disappointing settlement offer.

While you might be eager to get back into your home after a disaster, you also don’t want to assume you can or should start the cleanup and repair process yourself. Damaged homes are sometimes unsafe for occupancy and breathing in soot, ash, dust, and other airborne contaminants is downright hazardous to your health! Even if you’re not reimbursed the full cost of their services, consider investing in a professional water or fire restoration company after any such disaster, to protect yourself and ensure your home is safe for reoccupation.

How to Find a Public Adjuster Near You

To choose the best public adjuster near you, ensure you find one with a long track record of successful insurance negotiations. This should include your specific property damage type, whether that’s a fire, flood, storm damage, vandalism, theft, and so on.

Note that a qualified public adjuster will ask lots of questions, so don’t be put off by one who wants to know how a fire or flood happened, if your policy is in good standing, and so on. These are not accusations but they allow him or her to do their job properly and ensure a maximum payout without any wasted time or effort on their part.

While a public adjuster can charge whatever fees they wish, be wary of one that asks for a flat fee and not a percentage of a settlement they procure. An adjuster charging a flat rate might work hard on your behalf but someone who is paid a percentage of your settlement is likely to work harder! Consider carefully any contract or agreement with an adjuster that means a flat fee versus a percentage of your payout, so you find an adjuster who does the best job for you.

public insurance adjuster in Atlanta

Other Advantages of Hiring a Public Adjuster

After suffering property damage, knowing that your public adjuster will work hard to get you the maximum payout from your insurance company is typically reason enough to hire them! However, you might also consider a few other benefits to working with an insurance adjuster.

One such advantage is that they can alleviate the stress that comes with filing a claim and negotiating with your insurer. If you’ve gone through any major disaster or even something as frightening as a stove top fire, storm-damaged roof, and the like, no doubt you’re feeling lots of stress and anxiety already! Your time and attention should be spent getting your property and life back in order, not on conversations with an insurance agent.

A public adjuster is also an experienced insurance professional, knowledgeable about insurance clauses, exclusions, and other such details. Rather than trying to understand your policy on your own and making the mistake of thinking it should pay out more than it outlines, hiring an adjuster means having their expertise at your fingertips. Whatever questions you have about that policy and how it affects your claim, an experienced adjuster can answer!

Keep all these points in mind when considering the cost for a public adjuster and if their charges are worth it! He or she can ensure you don’t overlook any detail when filing a claim and will also manage all the stress of discussing that claim with your agent. You can then rest assured that your claim is in the best hands and you’re sure to receive the highest settlement when you choose to work with a public adjuster.

 

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