What Do Public Adjusters Do for Homeowners in an Insurance Claim?

Some people think that once they’ve purchased home insurance, they can sit back and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing they will be covered for any eventuality concerning their home. Sadly, some people discover this is not true when it’s too late.

The process of submitting a claim can be long and does not always go the way you expect. Understanding the roles of a public adjuster and insurance lawyer can go a long way toward helping your claim.

Please read on to learn more about what they do.

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

Your insurance company will not inspect the premises relating to the claim themselves. Instead, they send an insurance adjuster on their behalf. The insurance adjuster is hired by the insurance company, and they usually have long-term working relationships with the insurance industry. Their job is to ascertain the extent of the damage, which they pursue by assessing the structural damage, verifying the cost of the property damage, reviewing proof of living expenses, and more.

The insurance adjuster may determine the extent of the damage alone or by speaking to contractors or, in the event of a fire, the firefighters. There isn’t one agreed-upon industry standard, which can cause disagreements or fights.

The insurance adjuster represents the insurance company, even if they don’t officially work for them. As a result, there is often an incentive to keep costs down.

Public Adjusters

A public adjuster overlaps with the insurance adjuster, except they work for the policyholder, not the insurance company, except for in some limited cases involving independent public adjusters. They bring their expertise and experience to assist you with your claim, helping you meet the insurance company’s standards for paperwork.

If your claim is undervalued, then insurance public adjusters can advocate for a higher one.

Insurance Lawyers

Insurance lawyers do what public adjusters do and then some. They work for the policyholder to help them navigate the paperwork involved with the claim, ensuring that you understand the details of your existing policy so you can make informed decisions.

Insurance lawyers can better push back against the insurance company if the settlement they offer is too low. They’re familiar with all their pressure tactics, like refusing to release advanced funds until you sign off on a final Proof of Loss.

They can spot these tactics a million miles away and know how to respond. Insurance lawyers are excellent when the claim is larger and more complex. If third parties or liability are involved, or you think there’s a large potential for a dispute between you and the company, you will want an insurance lawyer in your corner.

A public adjuster cannot help you if you go to court, whereas an insurance lawyer can. Their goal is to help you avoid court, which can be costly and time-consuming, but they’ll be with you throughout the process. An insurance company may be less eager to try any underhanded tricks or drag things out in court if they know you have an insurance lawyer by your side. Having an insurance lawyer on your claim to negotiate with the insurance company may also benefit you, as the insurer may be less likely to act in bad faith when they know a lawyer is managing the claim.

Home insurance is expensive, so homeowners may be excused for expecting to be covered when things go wrong. Don’t assume you are. Understand your insurance policy and its limitations, and if it’ll help you, hire a public insurance adjuster or insurance lawyer.

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