Written by Andy Gurczak

August 28, 2021

Public Adjuster Fee: How do Public Adjusters Charge?

If you are struggling to sort out an insurance claim, hiring a public adjuster may be a good idea. Public adjusters are insurance claim professionals trained and dedicated to work for your claim, and its best interest, unlike insurance adjusters who work exclusively for the insurance companies. However, hiring a public adjuster does come with a price. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how public adjuster fees are structured.

First, you should decide if you need a public adjuster to manage your insurance claim in the first place. For example, you might lack the expertise to deal with the process and the insurer. Or maybe, you don’t have the time to work through the time-consuming payout process or negotiate a low-ball offer. If any of that is the case, then it is advisable to get the paid services of a professional public adjuster.

In fact, public adjusters will help with every detail of your case. For instance, they will learn your policy scheme, assess the damage to your property, negotiate the highest payout and sometimes even deal with contractors.

As mentioned before, a public adjuster does not have any affiliation with the insurance company. They are only there for your benefit, so hire one today!

Public Adjuster Fee

Public Adjuster Fee Structure

What Are Typical Public Adjuster Fee Arrangements?

  • Hourly rates
  • Flat fees
  • Retainers
  • Contingent fees

The way a public adjuster charges often depends on how the adjuster operates, as well as the size of the claim, type of loss, and the complexity of the damage. Nevertheless, hourly rates are not the most common arrangement for public adjusters.

Furthermore, always remember to settle a fee rate and way of payment with your public adjuster before you enter into any agreements. They should tell you upfront what their rate is and which method they use. Most importantly, this should also be added to your signed contract with the public adjuster. Moreover, know that public adjuster fees are regulated at a state level. Thus, public adjusters have predetermined rules and restrictions on when, how much, and the methods allowed for their expenses.

Public Adjuster Fee Types of Fee

So, How Much Does a Public Adjuster Charge?

Flat Rate as the Public Adjuster Fee

Usually, public adjusters charge a flat fee when you have a large and straightforward claim. Likewise, when it’s a claim with an obvious outcome. However, if a public adjuster advertises a flat fee, be sure you understand what that fee will and will not cover. Sometimes this flat fee might not include additional expenses. Finally, be sure to establish the price before the contract is signed.

Hourly Rate as the Public Adjuster Fee

As we said before, charging an hourly rate is not the most usual method for public adjusters. However, some do practice it. Therefore, an hourly rate usually depends on the state, the public adjusters’ experience and expertise, their operating costs, and the type of policy your claim falls under. In fact, an experienced public claims adjuster should be able to calculate an approximate of how many hours they will spend on your claim beforehand. Moreover, remember that cheaper is not necessarily better. A more expensive public adjuster with a lot of experience is probably more capable of handling complex claims faster and more effectively.

How Much Can You Expect to Pay on an Hourly Rate?

As we mentioned above, public adjuster fees vary based on location, experience, and the nature of the matter. Believe it or not, rates may vary anywhere from $325 an hour to $750 or more. Meanwhile, in rural areas and small towns, public adjusters tend to charge less. Therefore, fees are in the range of $250 to $325 an hour for an experienced public adjuster. If you are using the hourly rate, try to have standard expenses included beforehand. However, a public adjuster’s fee shouldn’t exceed 10% or 20% of the overall total settlement, depending on the state.

Retainer Public Adjuster Fee

A retainer fee is usually an advance payment on the hourly rate for a specific case. The public adjusters put the retainer in a special trust account and deduct the cost of services as they accrue from that account. However, do know that retainers are nonrefundable. So, If you decide to discharge a public adjuster that has worked on your claim before the retainer has been exhausted, you may forfeit the remainder. Of course, this is if the public adjuster was discharged without cause.

Contingent Public Adjuster Fee

This type of fee is the most commonly charged by public adjusters. In most types of claims, public adjusters work on a contingent fee basis. “Contingent” means that the public adjuster takes no fee from the client but gets a percentage of the finalized claim settlement. Generally, it’s around 10% to 20% of the total insurance claim settlement depending on the size of the claim.

Regardless, while most public adjusters are honest and competent at their work, it is still essential to watch out for potential scams. For example, some scammers ask for a deposit before starting work and then leave with your money. Meanwhile, others may refer you to sketchy contractors.

In conclusion, whenever you hire a public claims adjuster, it’s important that you validate their credentials. As well as call to verify customer reviews and ensure you are getting someone who is honest and proficient at their job. Finally, make sure you sort out the matter of fees before you sign any contracts.

When Do Public Adjusters Get Paid?

Public adjusters generally get paid when you accept the final offer from your insurance company. In fact, in most cases, this is the one and only time the public adjuster gets paid. Usually, you do not pay your public adjuster a dime until you receive the final payout from your insurer.

Because of this fee structure, your public adjuster will be extra motivated to push for higher compensation. But, of course, since it’s based on percentage.

Public Adjuster Fee Keeping Track of Fees

How Can You Keep Track of the Public Adjuster Fee?

As mentioned above, make sure you get your fee agreement in writing before moving ahead with any process. In fact, if a public adjuster is unwilling to put a fee agreement in writing, don’t even consider working with them. Anyways, most states require written fee agreements for all cases.

Moreover, ask your public adjuster to include a provision for periodic, itemized billing in the fee agreement. An itemized bill should list and describe all charges, including any additional miscellaneous expenses so that you can review them and compare them to your fee agreement.

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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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