Written by Andy Gurczak

September 27, 2021

How to Choose A Public Adjuster?

Tips On How to Choose a Public Adjuster for You

So you’ve suffered disaster and consequently a loss or property damage. You’ve weighed your options and realize your best choice is to hire a public adjuster. Now you have to figure out how to choose a public adjuster that best fits your claim adjustment needs.

Like any business, all adjusters are not created equal. They have different experience levels for filing insurance claims and handle different types of claims. So screening for independent adjusters that have experience handling your type of claim should not be taken lightly.

For this reason, we have compiled this list of tips on how to choose a public adjuster. With this in mind, remember that you are the client and should not be intimidated by high pressure tactics or industry lingo. If you’re uncomfortable with someone, then there is probably a good reason for it. So it’s important to consider the following criteria when hiring a public insurance adjuster:

How to Choose a Public Adjuster

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #1:
First, don’t hire the first adjuster that comes along.

Of course public adjusters are good salesmen. But their ability to market to you says nothing about their abilities to serve you. So consider your options since there are plenty of independent adjusters out there.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #2:
Second, make sure your public adjuster is experienced.

If a public adjuster is committed to serving their customers, they invest in association memberships to gain access to education. As a result, they usually belong to a number of groups including the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), Windstorm Insurance Network (WIND), and United Policyholders of America. With this in mind, many of these groups have strict ethical standards. Therefore, members are expected to abide by them. Moreover, these associations also have online directories that list their members.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #3:
Also, ensure they obey the law.

Many states make it illegal for public adjusters to contact people during a natural disaster. Nor within a number of days following a storm. Thus, if an independent adjuster reaches out to you during a time like this, question their motives and the legality of their actions. You, on the other hand, have no restrictions on when you can contact a public adjuster. However, if you feel immediate assistance is beneficial, you can find a public adjuster to assist you.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #4:
And beware of false promises.

No public adjuster should make any promises of what they can do for you before looking carefully at the loss. Nor should they be feeding you false hopes without first reading and reviewing your insurance policy. A public adjuster must first meet you, see your loss, and review your records before outlining a plan to get you back on track for a full recovery.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Trust

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #5:
Furthermore, check their license status.

Most states require insurance professional to acquire the proper licensing in order to operate. So always make sure you are hiring a licensed public adjuster. You can always ask an adjuster for proof of license. As well as contact the Insurance Department in your state to verify their license is in good standing. In fact, some public adjusters work under the license of another individual or public adjustment firms, rather than becoming qualified and credentialed individually.

Moreover, sometimes contractors or restoration companies pose as public adjusters. In fact, they sometimes even tell you they can adjust your claim or negotiate with your insurance company. This is a felony. Just as a contractor cannot adjust your claim, a public adjuster cannot have a financial interest in your loss except for their approved public adjusting contract fee.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #6:
As well as look at their online reviews.

Platforms like Google and Yelp offer customers the opportunity to share their true opinions about their experiences with companies. So take advantage of this. Read through the reviews to identify common themes in complaints or praises. If a review causes concern, ask the public adjuster about it to see if they respond professionally.

Furthermore, if a public adjuster believes in their abilities, they will give you references to call. If they are unwilling to share references, consider it a red flag and move on to the next adjuster on your list. Calling references is a great way to ask former customers questions about their experience and if they would use the public adjuster again.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #7:
You can also review their website.

Take the time to review their website for information about their experience, success stories, and other important information. If they don’t have a website or it doesn’t appear professional, they may be new or a fly-by-night adjuster company.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Review Website

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #8:
Ask about their fees.

Reputable public adjusters only charge a percentage of the final settlement for their work. In fact, only on the rarest occasions do public insurance adjusters charge an hourly fee. Whatever the case, be sure to ask about their fee before any adjusting takes place. Moreover, get an itemized bill or fee agreement in writing.

Sometimes an adjuster offers to handle your claim for a small percentage. Of course the type, size and complexity of the loss will impact the cost. Smaller losses tend to get charged a higher percentage because the adjuster needs to cover their time commitment. Plus, it can take just as much effort to settle a small loss. Most reputable adjusters charge between 5% and 20%. Anything less should be a red flag. For example, the adjuster will not put in the proper time or effort in handling your claim. Also be aware that in a declared state of emergency public adjuster fees are limited.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #9:
Moreover, a public adjuster should not pressure you into signing anything

Don’t sign anything unless you have read it and understand it. You are entitled to take your time to deliberate your public adjuster’s offer. A Public adjuster that pressures you into signing something is probably not a good adjuster.

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Signing

How to Choose a Public Adjuster Tip #10:
Finally, ask your public adjuster about the insurance claims process.

Last but certainly not least, ask the public adjuster about the process of working with them. For example, what steps do they initially take with the insurance carrier? Do they review your insurance policy? Or will they visit the damage site? How often do they communicate with you?

Having a professional public adjuster on your side is extremely valuable and key to the success of your claim. But remember, you should feel comfortable with the public adjuster your hire. Asking the right questions helps you better understand and relay expectations.

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