Given our specialization in the Mitigation and Restoration side of the claims industry, we get a lot of questions about insurance coverages, claims procedures, and adjusters. One question we get quite often is "what's the difference between an Adjuster and a Public Adjuster?"
To answer this question, we have enlisted the help of Dawn Hansen of Metro Public Adjustment, who was happy to answer some common questions we receive.
What exactly is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is a consumer advocate for home & business owners when they have damage to their property, covered by insurance, to make sure they are treated and, more importantly, paid fairly by their insurance company. We are licensed & bonded by the state to provide professional representation to the policyholder to ensure they receive the maximum settlement, based on what the policy language states.
How is a Public Adjuster different from an Adjuster?
An Adjuster is either an employee of the insurance company or someone independent hired by the insurance company to handle claims for them. While an Adjuster represents the insurance company, a Public Adjuster works for the policyholder to ensure that you are treated fairly and receive all the benefits you are entitled to under the terms of your insurance policy.
What are the benefits of using a Public Adjuster?
Handling an insurance claim can be extremely frustrating and very time consuming. Since most policyholders are not familiar with claims handling, dealing with a large company that has experience and training in handling claims puts the policyholder at a disadvantage right from the start. A public adjuster has the experience & expertise needed to evaluate the coverage, document the loss, ensure policy conditions are met, present a damage estimate, present the claim properly, schedule appointments, handle telephone calls, write letters, and obtain experts as needed to support the claim. Just as you would go to an accountant to maximize your tax refund, you would use a public adjuster to maximize your claim settlement. Think of it as insurance for your insurance!
What else can I do to make sure that I'm prepared in the event of a loss?
Preparing an inventory of your personal property is one of the best things you can do to help ensure you recover fully from a major loss. To give you a better idea of what your personal property is, consider this. If you took your home, turned it upside down and shook it, your personal property would be anything that falls out. This will likely mean you're making a list of hundreds of items, including furniture & electronics, dishes & silverware, bedding & clothing, and even the small, random items that we all throw in what we typically call "the junk drawer". Trying to remember everything we own is hard enough but, in the midst of a tragedy, it becomes that much more difficult to recall every little item. The easiest way to inventory your property is to walk through your home while taking a video and narrating. Couple that with pictures and a written, room by room break down of all of the items and you'll be setting yourself up for a much smoother road to recovery should the unthinkable happen. But don't forget to store your videos, pictures, and documents in a cloud somewhere so you can access it even if your phone, tablet, or computer are destroyed.
What should I do if I have damage to my property?
Although we may want to believe "nothing like that will ever happen to me," the unfortunate truth is that many of us, at some point in time in our lives, will deal with a loss, large or small, that we did not expect. Here are some key things to keep in mind when that happens.
Take lots of pictures! Take pictures of any and all damaged items and affected areas. The more pictures, the better!
Do not throw anything away, no matter how bad its condition. Throwing things away is like throwing money away. If there is no proof of what was ruined, you're likely to have trouble getting it replaced by your insurance company. Instead, move the damaged items from their original location and place them in a safe area where they can be revisited at a later time, when needed.
Mitigate the problem. Call a professional Mitigation & Restoration firm such as Disaster Blaster immediately. It is very important to make sure you do what you can to keep the damaged areas from worsening. Not taking proper action to stop the cause of loss can result in your claim being denied due to negligence.
Do minimal clean up. Cleaning up too much can result in destroying pertinent evidence that the loss ever existed. In order to be made whole by your insurance company, they will need to see the damages in as close to loss condition as possible.
Document everything. Record your date of loss, and be sure to keep all invoices and receipts for every repair and / or replacement item, no matter how small.
Most importantly, before you call your insurance company, call a public adjuster! We will come out to evaluate the damage, put together an estimate for the full extent of the damage, and present the claim properly to the insurance company to make sure you get the maximum settlement for your claim.
We appreciate Dawn taking the time out of her schedule to answer some of the common questions we get asked about Public Adjusters, and hope this cleared up some of your own questions! If you have a need for Dawn's services, she can be reached at (800) 314-0868.
As always, should you ever be in the need of any of our services, please do not hesitate to Contact Our Offices!
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