When you file a claim under your home, auto or other insurance policy, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim. While your insurance company will refer to this individual as “your” adjuster, the truth of the matter is that he or she works for the insurance company, not for you.
As a result, when the insurance company’s adjuster comes out to investigate your claim, he or she is not looking for your best interests. Instead, his or her goal is to identify the minimum amount that the insurance company can pay and still satisfy its obligations under your policy (though bad faith is a common issue in insurance claims as well). To help maximize your payout under your policy, one option you have is to hire a public adjuster.
What is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is someone who works on behalf of insured individuals to determine the extent of their covered losses and negotiate for an appropriate settlement with their insurer. The key here is that the public adjuster works for the insured, not the insurance company. Public adjusters often work closely with insurance lawyers who can determine policyholders’ rights and make clear to the insurance companies that, if they do not pay, they will be forced to defend their denial of coverage in court.
When to Hire a Public Adjuster
You have the right to hire a public adjuster for any insurance claim, and a reputable adjuster should be able to tell you if his or her services are likely be beneficial given the extent of the damage to your personal or real property. Public adjusters charge a fee based on a percentage of your insurance settlement (more on public adjusters’ fees below), but under appropriate circumstances hiring a public adjuster can still result in a net financial benefit for your claim.
Generally speaking, it can be beneficial to hire a public adjuster for any claim involving significant damage or damage the extent of which is unknown. The public adjuster’s job is to use his or her expertise to help make sure you receive a fair settlement, and the greater your covered losses, the more you stand to benefit from having a public adjuster on your side.
Considerations for Hiring a Public Adjuster
Before you choose a public adjuster to assist with your insurance claim, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
- Licensure – Is the public adjuster licensed? In Florida, all public adjusters must be licensed by the Bureau of Licensing of the Department of Financial Services.
- Experience – Is the public adjuster experienced? You want a public adjuster who has extensive experience in insurance claim investigations and negotiations with major insurance companies.
- Fees – Is the public adjuster’s fee reasonable and legal? By law, public adjusters in Florida can only charge up to 10 percent of the final insurance settlement, or 20 percent if the case gets re-opened or involves a supplemental claim.
Saavedra | Goodwin – Insurance Claim Lawyers in Broward County, FL
At Saavedra Goodwin, we have decades of experience representing policy holders in insurance claims, and we work closely with trusted public adjusters in Broward County, FL. If you need help dealing with your insurance company, we invite you to call (954) 767-6333 or contact us online to speak with one of our attorneys about your claim.