When you have just suffered property damage or loss due to a fire, burst pipe or hurricane, you are traumatized and not in a fit state of mind to make important or rational decisions. Filing an insurance claim is often not foremost on your mind and takes a back seat to secure new housing or business premises, dealing with emotional trauma or injury, or just getting on with daily life and its challenges.
In these circumstances, what you need is someone who has your best interest at heart and will do all the insurance claim groundwork for you. You need to hire a public adjuster.
What Is A Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is a licensed and bonded independent insurance professional who assists policyholders with the insurance claim process. A public adjuster has no relation to any particular insurance, and his fee is usually calculated as a percentage of what the policyholder receives from his or her claim.
A public adjuster is the only licensed adjuster in the state of Florida that represents you, the insured party. Their main responsibility is to protect you and your interests when filing a claim with an insurance company.
There are two other types of adjusters and they are not to be confused with Public Adjusters
- Insurance Company Adjusters – Employed by an insurance company, they represent and protect the interests of the insurance company.
- Independent Adjusters – They are hired by and represent the insurance company. Their main responsibility is also to protect the interests of the insurance company.
Why Should You Hire A Public Adjuster?
A Public Adjuster has experience, knowledge, and expertise in insurance matters. The main reasons for hiring a public adjuster would be:
- They represent only you and are in no way affiliated to any insurance company.
- They know how to decipher all the provisions, stipulations, technical, and legal terms in the insurance claim documents. Failure to satisfy the policy requirements could result in a minimum payout amount or the claim being denied altogether.
- Filing for, and receiving payment is very time consuming and tedious, especially when your documentation is not organized before the event. They will attend to all the phone calls, emails, meetings and large amounts of paperwork on your behalf. A public adjuster knows how to streamline the process, leaving you free to concentrate on other important matters.
- They know the current laws, especially case laws / Florida Statutes that could supersede your insurance policy. They know how to make sure you get the full settlement that you are entitled to.
What To Look For When Hiring A Public Adjuster
After a disaster of any kind, there are always unscrupulous scam artists just waiting to take advantage of the vulnerable. Don’t get conned into believing everything you hear. Before signing any contract, make sure of the following:
- Are they affiliated to The Florida Association Of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA)? This will ensure that they are tested, licensed, bonded and authorized. FAPIA members also have to attend bi-annual conferences as the industry is ever-changing, and they subscribe to monthly and weekly update emails.
- Do they have experience in the area you require assistance? Ask for references and make sure that they are the right person for your situation. Recommendations from family members or friends you trust are usually very helpful.
- Have they explained the fee structure clearly? Most public adjusters claim a certain percentage, determined upfront, on the settlement of your claim. Never sign a blank contract.
- When in doubt, call the Better Business Bureau or State Insurance Department to check their record. Beware of those who knock door to door after a catastrophe.
- Avoid being pressurized. Carefully read and understand any contract before signing it.
You wouldn’t go to court without an attorney, so don’t process an insurance claim without your public adjuster. Contact Atlantic Coast Public Adjusters to ensure you get the insurance settlement you are entitled to!