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Written by Andy Gurczak

April 8, 2024

7 Red Flags That Indicate You Need to Hire a Public Adjuster

Dealing with property damage is a major hassle. Whether a hurricane tore through your neighborhood or a fire ravaged your business, navigating your insurance claim shouldn’t add to your stress. But the reality is that insurance companies are businesses too, and that can create friction when you need them most.

Public adjusters are licensed professionals who work on your behalf, not for the insurance company. They are your advocates, ensuring you receive a fair and timely settlement. But when do you really need one?

Here are seven key red flags to watch for after you file a claim:

1. Low Initial Settlement Offer

Insurance companies are experts at estimating claim costs. If you receive a settlement offer that seems surprisingly low, something might be off. It’s a red flag that the insurance company may be trying to undervalue your claim and minimize their payout. A public adjuster can evaluate the damages comprehensively and negotiate on your behalf for a better outcome.

2. Delays and Stalling Tactics

Insurance companies have specific timeframes they must adhere to when handling claims. If you’re facing constant delays, requests for excessive documentation, or difficulty getting in contact with your adjuster, they may be employing stalling tactics. This could be an attempt to frustrate you into accepting a lower settlement or wear you down over time.

3. Confusing or Complicated Explanations

Your insurance policy is a legal contract, often filled with jargon and complicated terms. If you have trouble understanding the explanations provided by your insurance adjuster, it’s worth seeking a second opinion. A public adjuster can help you understand the fine print and any technicalities of your policy.

4. Pressure to Sign Documents Quickly

Insurance companies might try to rush you into signing a release or settlement agreement. Never sign anything without fully comprehending the terms and potential implications. A public adjuster can review any documents and make sure nothing is there to limit your right to pursue a full and fair settlement.

5. Denial of Valid Claim Elements

Sometimes, insurance companies will try to deny portions of your claim even if they seem clearly covered by your policy. Examples could be water damage deemed “gradual damage” rather than sudden pipe burst, or a roof replacement denied when the adjuster claims it’s repairable. Don’t take their word as absolute truth – a public adjuster can fight for what you’re owed.

Types of Damages a Public Adjuster Can Help With

Hiring a public adjuster can be especially helpful with:

  • Hurricane damage: Complex to assess due to the mix of wind and water.
  • Fire damage: Smoke and soot damage can be extensive and hidden.
  • Water damage: Insurance companies try to distinguish between sudden leaks and “wear and tear”.
  • Commercial claims: Lost business income calculations are often disputed.

6. You Feel Overwhelmed or Unsure

The claims process is complex and emotionally draining, particularly after major property damage. If you feel lost, overwhelmed, or simply unsure if you’re being treated fairly, bringing in a public adjuster is a smart move. They offer much-needed peace of mind.

7. Significant Damage to Your Property

The more extensive the damage, the more complicated your claim is likely to be. In these cases, having an experienced professional in your corner advocating for the maximum possible settlement makes sense. They’ll understand the true scope of the damage, building codes, and what it takes to fully restore your property.

Important Point: Not every claim requires a public adjuster. But if you notice any of these red flags, seeking a consultation could make all the difference in your final settlement.

How Does A Public Adjuster Get Paid?

This is a great question and one that highlights the difference between a public adjuster and those working for the insurance company. Public adjusters typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don’t get paid unless they secure a larger settlement for you than the insurance company initially offered. Their percentage fee is part of that increase.

This system motivates public adjusters to work hard for their clients, as their income directly depends on their ability to maximize their claim payout.

Finding the Right Public Adjuster

Not all public adjusters are equal. Here are some tips for finding the right professional to handle your case:

  • Check their license: Ensure any public adjuster you consider is properly licensed by the Department of Financial Services in the state that you live in.
  • Look for experience: Ideally, choose a public adjuster with a track record in handling claims similar to yours. For example, if you suffered hurricane damage, seek someone with extensive experience in that area.
  • Ask about fees: Understand their fee structure upfront and make sure it’s in writing.
  • Get references: Ask if they can provide references from previous clients.

What Happens After I Hire a Public Adjuster?

Once you hire a public adjuster, they will:

  • Thoroughly review your policy: They’ll dissect your policy to ensure they understand all your coverage and any potential exclusions.
  • Assess the damage: They’ll conduct a detailed inspection, often identifying damage your insurance adjuster might have missed.
  • Prepare your claim documentation: This includes detailed estimates, inventories of damaged belongings, and supporting documentation.
  • Negotiate with the insurance company: Public adjusters know the tactics insurers use, and they’ll push back strongly to achieve the best possible settlement.

The Benefits of Hiring a Public Adjuster

A skilled public adjuster in Florida offers several advantages:

  • Higher settlements: Studies indicate that homeowners who hire public adjusters often receive significantly larger payouts.
  • Reduced stress: They handle the time-consuming and emotionally taxing aspects of battling the insurance company.
  • Expertise: Their knowledge of construction, insurance policies, and negotiation strategies give you a significant edge.

Is Hiring a Public Adjuster Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision to hire a public adjuster is personal. If you are comfortable with the insurance company’s offer and feel confident in handling the process on your own, you may not need one. However, if you experience any of the red flags discussed, or if your claim is complex, a public adjuster could be your best ally in securing the fair settlement you deserve.

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At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.

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