This is where things get tricky and difficult to determine.
Do I need a public adjuster? The million-dollar question. But what is a public adjuster?
When someone’s home or business receives substantial damage from a hurricane, the next steps are going to be grueling and tiresome.
Diligent and meticulous notes and observations of loss are required to prevent the possibility of receiving a lower payout.
Any misstep could very easily translate to a lower payment from your insurance provider.
It goes without saying that if you need a claim you need to file it with your provider but you need to remember that the adjuster they provide will always have their employer’s interest at heart as opposed to a public adjuster who works solely and exclusively for you.
ABC News exclaimed how “Recovering after a hurricane can be especially challenging because it often means filing claims on different policies.”
For example, if your home suffered flood damage as well as your roof being ripped off from the powerful wind of a hurricane you would be obliged to file a flood damage claim as well as a homeowner or windstorm insurance claim.
Another example discussed in the article is how determining the answers to complicated and intricate questions such as “How much of the water damage was due to rain coming in through the torn-up roof and how much was due to flooding?”
It’s safe to say that leaving the process in the hands of a professional would be ideal.
There is also the question of whether or not the damage on your end justifies the help of a public adjuster.
Minor damage wouldn’t necessarily be grounds for a public adjuster or if the destruction is so great that the compensation needed to rebuild surpasses the insurance limits, it would be wise to handle the claim yourself.
Public Adjusters, again, are professionally trained employees who will go to great lengths to get the payout you deserve.
You don’t need to worry about omissions of detail or missteps in filing as public adjusters have significant experience in filing claims and arguing for a fair settlement.
Hurricane property damage
How To File An Insurance Claim After A Hurricane
“Consumer Federation of America estimates that the storm could result in 450,000 claims for insurance payments — 300,000 for wind damage and 150,000 for federal flood insurance” – Miami Herald.
If you’ve determined that your situation appropriately calls for the help of a public adjuster to kick start the rebuilding post-hurricane, then here are a few tips to get started with the process.
First, here are some notable bullet points to keep in mind when searching for a reputable public adjuster.
- Make sure that the adjuster is licensed
- Seek out referrals and personally learn about the public adjuster’s past success or failures
- Rely on the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed
- Make sure you have thoroughly read and you understand the contract in detail regards to payment and fees before signing.
- A HUGE red flag would be if the adjuster demands a fee upfront, this is a tell-tale sign to flee.
- Don’t employ a public adjuster you can’t trust. This business has had countless occurrences of scams and making sure you feel comfortable is something every public adjuster should have at heart.
Okay, now that we’ve covered that let’s dig into the process for filing a Hurricane Damage claim.
- MAKE SURE to file the claim as soon as possible, That is MANDATORY.
- Florida is already dealing with a shortage of adjusters and delaying filing your claim could potentially lead to a delayed start to rebuilding your home and getting your life back to normal.
- Maintenance of all important information (ie: claim number) is also needed. Take notes of every adjuster you speak with, take notes of the conversation, document as much you can to leave as little as possible when it comes to negotiating the payout.
- Keep receipts and keep track of all immediate expenses that were necessary (hotels, meals, anything needed to protect your home) and feasible.
- ASK QUESTIONS. Your insurance will send out an adjuster to determine the level of damage that the hurricane left on your home and you need to know as much as possible about them. Are they independent? Do they work for the insurance company? Ask as many questions and take as many notes as possible.
Benefits Of A Public Adjuster
You must understand that public adjusters can’t get you more money than you’re entitled to.
They can only get you what you deserve. Public adjusters usually take a fee of somewhere between 5% and 15% of the entire settlement depending on the state.
There are numerous benefits of hiring a public adjuster such as:
Speaking the language
It’s safe to say that you’re most likely not familiar with the language of insurance and what goes into constructing a deal.
Too many times have there been instances when someone is told they’re not covered by insurance when the public adjuster later discovers that they were covered after all.
Each adjuster has ways of determining loss and they all measure what is needed to adequately rebuild differently.
With such a catastrophic storm like a hurricane, adjusters are going to be coming out of the woodworks and coming from various states to help file claims.
It is not uncommon for adjusters from different states to be unaware of certain policies and regulations in Florida.
Make sure that the public adjuster you’re working with is skilled and experienced for Florida insurance claims.
Claim adjusters who work for your insurance provider, as stated earlier, will have their employer’s interest entirely at heart ultimately leaving you in the dust.
They will attempt to “force you into a settlement that is lower than what you’re entitled to for the promise of getting you your settlement money faster.”
A tactic that public adjusters are experienced in recognizing and handling. They will negotiate a deal upfront as they work out all the details of your payout.