The public adjuster is the claims adjuster who has the legal ability to represent a homeowner during any sort of insurance claims process. There are certain situation where it might be considered ideal to work with a public adjuster and some instances where it could become problematic. Understanding what a public adjuster is, what role they play in the claims process, and when it is a good idea to hire one is important for the homeowner during a restoration process.
Types Of Adjusters
There are three types of claims adjusters that may be involved with the insurance claims process:
- The first is the claims service representative or claims adjuster. This is the standard claims adjuster who works on behalf of the insurance company. Insurance companies employ their own adjusters to represent their interests during the claims process.
- The second type of adjuster that may be present is an independent adjuster. These adjusters are independent contractors who are hired by insurance companies. They still represent the interests of the insurance company, but don’t work solely for that company. Independent adjusters will usually represent many different companies throughout the year.
- The third and final type of adjuster is the public adjuster. This is the only adjuster who can represent the homeowner during the claims process. Both of the previous adjusters work entirely for the insurance provider, but the public adjuster is there as an advocate for the homeowner.
The homeowner must contact the public adjuster themselves and hire them for the job. The insurance company or restoration company never hires the public adjuster themselves.
The Role Of The Public Adjuster
The job of a public adjuster isn’t always easy. They must represent the homeowner and ensure that the claim is being handled properly and in a timely fashion. They are also there to help establish the value of the lost or damaged property and to make sure the homeowner is paid the money they are owed.
Without a public adjuster, the insurance provider may attempt to undervalue the damaged property or to prolong the insurance claims process for long periods of time. Public adjusters are most useful when the homeowner feels as though the insurance provider isn’t handling their case properly. They are also useful when the homeowner is certain the insurance provider will cover the loss, but wants to be certain the damaged property is valued properly.
The Good And The Bad
Just as with any type of adjuster there are both good and bad public adjusters. Homeowners must be extremely careful when choosing the right adjuster for their case or it could make the situation worse. Only 44 states have laws regulating the work of public adjusters, which means people who do not live in those states are at greater risk of hiring an inexperienced adjuster that doesn’t operate in an ethical or beneficial fashion.
The public adjuster is always paid a percentage of the claim received by the homeowner. They may attempt to drive the claim up higher than its real value in an attempt to make more money. While a public adjuster can be a valuable asset for the homeowner during the restoration process, they must do their research and hire a honest, experienced adjuster or it could hurt their case in the long run.