Insurance Claims and Public Adjuster FAQs
We realize that dealing with a casualty loss in your home or business is extremely stressful. We adjust claims for our customers daily. It is all we do. We do not own handyman, construction, plumbing, electrical, mold remediation or water extraction companies of any kind. Our only business is Public Adjusting and working on your behalf.
What is a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster is an insurance professional who represents the interests of the policyholder in settling a property insurance claim. Public adjusters are licensed and bonded, and have special training and expertise in appraising, preparing and negotiating property damage and business interruption losses.
Why should I hire a Public Adjuster?
When it comes to insurance claims, you are responsible for proving your loss to your insurance company.
Aside from attorneys, a licensed public insurance adjuster is the only person licensed by the state to represent you, the insured. As a Public Adjuster, we handle all of the work regarding your claim.
We have the experience, knowledge and expertise to obtain the maximum entitlements under your policy. Our team of specially-trained professionals understands insurance policies, endorsements and forms, in addition to your rights as the insured. Our focus is on you. Our job is to represent you to the insurance company.
Why do I need a Public Adjuster to obtain what is rightfully owed to me?
Insurance policies contain numerous provisions and stipulations, as well as various forms and endorsements that are always being revised and updated. Endorsements are documents added to your policy to either exclude or supplement certain policy coverages which were not included when you purchased the original policy.
It is essential to familiarize yourself with your policy forms. However, we understand that unless you work in the insurance business and have a great deal of experience with insurance policies and claims, then these complicated documents can be very difficult to understand.
Most people don’t have the expertise to properly understand and interpret the technical language contained in their policy, nor do they understand the complex procedures that must be followed to comply with the policy’s terms. The insurance company’s adjusters are trained professionals representing the insurance company’s interests. Policyholders have the option to protect their own interests by retaining a public adjuster, whose responsibility is to serve the insured.
In addition, when you file a claim with your insurance company, there are certain policy conditions that must be satisfied. Failure to do so can reduce your settlement amount or even cause your claim to be denied. Your Public Adjuster will advise you on what to do to satisfy those policy conditions.
Just because the insurance company’s adjuster makes an oral statement, or the insurance company makes a decision concerning your loss, it does not necessarily mean it is fact. It is not uncommon for the insurance company to misinterpret its own policy or forget to apply Florida statutes and case law that may supersede their policy.
This is where a public adjuster makes a big difference.
My insurance company has an adjuster who is assigned to my claim – why can’t I just use him or her to help settle my claim?
There is one key difference between a public adjuster and the adjuster provided by an insurance company: a public adjuster works on behalf of the policyholder to settle a claim for the maximum amount possible, while the insurance company’s adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company. The adjuster assigned to your claim by your insurance company will be ONLY looking out for the insurance company’s best interests. As a policyholder, it is your duty to prove to your insurance company the money that you are owed. By hiring a public adjuster, you will have a professional working on your behalf through every step of the process.
My insurance claim is underway and I received an offer from my insurance company but I’m worried that the settlement amount is too low. Is it too late to hire a public adjuster?
It’s not too late to hire a public adjuster. It is common for homeowners and business owners to try to handle property damage claims on their own, especially if it’s the first time they have incurred damages. By hiring a public adjuster, however, you have an expert on your side with the experience needed to increase the settlement to the amount you deserve.
My property damage claim was settled with my insurance company and I received a check. However, now I am having more issues resulting from the initial damages. Is it too late to hire a public adjuster?
It is not too late. We can reopen any insurance claim made in the last 5 years to get you more money. Often there are supplemental damage claims that can be filed for things such as undiscovered water damage, or damage behind walls once reconstruction begin. Ideally, having a public adjuster retained early in the process will help to identify these common problem areas and adjust the claim accordingly. The only exception to this is when the policyholder signs a release, thereby letting the insurance carrier off the hook for additional payment on the particular claim.
How long do I have to report a loss?
In Florida, in most cases you have three years to report a claim from the date that the loss occurred. Each insurance company has provisions in their contracts regarding late reporting of claims that may make the filing of a claim that happened six plus months ago more difficult but never impossible.
How do Public Adjusters get paid for their services?
We do not get paid unless you do. Our fee is based upon a percentage of the insurance company’s settlement to you. There are no upfront fees for our services and if you do not get paid, then we don’t get paid. It is in our best interest to look out for our clients’ interest.
What general advice do you give a new client once they retain you as their Public Adjuster?
- Put our number (800) 635-8111 into your contacts and speed dial.
- DO NOT sign or agree to anything without consulting us first.
- Contact us if you receive anything from the insurance company that does not show us as receiving a copy.
- Please note that your insurance company has 90 days to pay or deny your claim. Do not make any assumptions as to how much your insurance company will pay or when they will pay.
- Payments are generally sent to our office, but occasionally will be mailed to you. In the event it is sent to you, please contact us so we can walk you through the process. Insurance company drafts are generally issued to the named insured on the policy, any mortgage holders and our company.
- Generally, we are able to secure the settlement you deserve through negotiation or through special processes called Mediation or Appraisal. If not, we may recommend litigation and will recommend, and work with, an attorney who is highly skilled in insurance claim litigation.
- Do not sign any contracts with any remediation firms without seeking advice from your attorney. If you insist on hiring a firm then only sign to have them dry out your home. Do not sign a contract to have them do the repairs on your home after they address the damage. If you decide they are not the firm for you and even if they did not perform the work, they usually have in the fine print a 20% penalty clause for liquidated damages on their contracts and you will have to pay them even if you do not use them to do the work.
- Keep copies of all receipts for any Additional Living Expenses (ALE) that you incur while you are out of your home. Be sure to keep a log of your expenses as well. Date, what was spent, where you ate, who ate with you, etc. The same goes for lodging while you are out of your residence or business. Do not spend more on ALEs than your current housing accommodation would have cost. You are entitled to like kind and similar. If you were living in an upper middle class home, they will not pay for rental of an ultra-luxurious home.