You never want to actually need your insurance coverage…but the whole point of insurance is having it in case you do need it.
If and when you experience an insurance loss and file a claim, you’ll likely deal with an insurance adjuster (also known as a claims adjuster).
An insurance adjuster assesses the damages and details of your loss to determine the payout needed to properly reimburse you. For instance, in the case of a homeowners insurance loss, the adjuster will determine the cost needed to replace or restore damaged/stolen property in your home.
It is also their job to help explain your policy coverages and work with you through the claims adjustment process. Ultimately, it’s their goal is to help you get your life back to normal in a timely fashion.
Thorough preparations can help the adjuster verify the extent of the damage. For example, keeping an inventory of belongings in your home will help the adjuster accurately and fairly compensate you in case of a homeowners loss.
There are several different types of insurance adjusters.
Company adjusters are insurance adjusters who are employed by an insurance company. They handle claims specifically for policyholders of that insurance company.
Independent adjusters also handle claims, but they are actually independent contractors, hired by insurance companies to assist insureds through the claims process.
Similarly, public adjusters are their own entity, but instead, they are hired by you rather than the insurance company. While choosing your own insurance adjuster to handle your claim may seem like a wise decision, please understand that when you hire a public insurance adjuster, they will receive a percentage of your claim payout as compensation for their services.
Since public adjusters are paid a cut of your claim payments, there is an incentive for them to prolong the claims process and even falsify reimbursement needs in an effort to get more money for themselves. This could mean a drawn out process and an incorrect payout. Overpayment isn’t as sweet as it sounds.
If the costs of your loss exceed the limits on your policy, settling the claim may require an attorney. Your public adjuster won’t be able to assist you in this regard, but you’ll still have to pay their fee. Of course, you’ll also have to pay the attorney and whatever other fees ensue.
Let’s be clear. Not all public adjusters abuse their role. In fact; sometimes public adjusters are a logical option worth considering in the event of a claim.
But the claims adjuster provided by your insurance company is generally the more efficient choice. They have easy access to your insurance policy and the details it includes, and they also have a quality relationship with your insurance company. This cuts out the unnecessary middleman. Not to mention when everyone is working on the same side to properly reimburse you, things tend to go a lot smoother.
We certainly are not saying that every public adjuster out there is an unctuous thief plotting to steal your hard earned money during your time of need… However, if you’ve already hired a trustworthy insurance agency and a quality insurance company, it often doesn’t make sense to take a risk on hiring a public adjuster.
It’s our hope that you never need to file a claim, but if you do, you’ve now got a better understanding of what to expect from your insurance adjuster. For more helpful tips, explanations, and other insurance-related info, we encourage you to check out our other recent blog posts.
To file an insurance claim, please visit our online claims center or call us at (607) 535-6501.