With destruction and devastation rampant in the wake of Hurricane Michael in the Panama City and Mexico Beach area, many home and property owners will begin taking the necessary steps to assess and calculate damage, advise their insurance companies of the loss, and slowly begin repairs. Here are a few things you should know about adjusters before you file or settle your claim for damage from Hurricane Michael.
The Insurance Adjuster Works for the Insurance Company
Never forget: the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. They have incentive to downplay your damages and minimize your claim so the insurance company does not have to pay as much, or anything, on your claim. The insurance company is in the business of making money, which means paying out less on insurance claims than they collect in premiums. This is the company that has sent the adjuster out to you. No matter how pleasant, understanding, and zealous the adjuster may claim to be about getting you the most money possible, remind yourself they are employed by your insurance company and concerned with its bottom line, not yours. Insurance adjusters hired by the insurance companies may be called independent adjusters, while they are anything but. The insurance company often hires independent adjusters to work on claims for their company, especially in areas of widespread damage where the need for claims adjusters is high.
Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
A public adjuster, on the other hand, is an adjuster licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services who works on your behalf to prepare your claim, appraise your damages, and negotiate with your insurance company the amount of money you will be paid for repairs to your home and replacement of your personal property. Public adjusters are usually paid a percentage of your recovery amount rather than by the insurance company. this means they have incentive to seek out and document every element of your damages to maximize the recovery on your insurance claim. The percentage public adjusters charge can vary. It is a good idea to understand what the services of the public adjuster will include before agreeing to hire a public adjuster.
Check Reputation, Results, and Experience First
Deciding who to hire to help you with your hurricane insurance claim is an important decision. Many people will be trying to contact you now to offer their services. Public adjusters can have very different levels of experience, customer service, and results. While it may not be necessary in every case, bringing a public adjuster on board can be a good way to ensure the adjuster who is calculating your damages to determine how much you will recover truly has your best interest in mind.
However, you should check the public adjuster’s credentials. Ask around about their results, reputation, experience, and customer service. If you are considering hiring a public adjuster or have questions about a public adjuster you have already hired, feel free to contact our law firm and speak to one of our attorneys free of charge at any time. We would be happy to discuss your rights regarding public adjusters and how we work in conjunction with public adjusters. Always understand your legal rights before hiring any public adjuster.