Following an unexpected property damage loss, you can expect your insurance company to come prepared with experts. A fire, earthquake, flood, winter storm, hurricane, or other natural disaster can turn your life upside down without a moment's notice. As an insured policyholder, you have rights and obligations. One of which is the ability to hire a public adjuster to advocate on your behalf. So, how can you tell when you need to bring in a professional to represent your interests?

1. You will need to document, file and prove a claim

When your claim is relatively large or has many public adjustercomplicating factors, a public adjuster is just the person you need on your side. Your insurance company will involve an adjuster for your claim; however, they are paid by the insurance company to adjust the claim on the insurance company's behalf — not yours. An insurance company has a team of people who understand the ins-and-outs of your policy, what it covers versus what it excludes, and are looking out for their bottom line. If you do not have the same resources on your side, you may find yourself fighting a losing battle.

A claim can quickly become difficult to navigate. For example, if a fire damages your home, how do you go about proving your damages or receiving any reimbursement? Or, for instance you never made an inventory of your possessions, and now have to create one from memory and list all the items that were lost in the disaster including their current valuations. Our public adjusters have perfected this process and will ensure that you receive the best possible recovery for all your belongings covered by your policy. Many situations can complicate a claim quickly, but public adjusters have experience and know how to handle them to ensure a proper settlement.

2. You don't fully understand the insurance policy's language or depth of coverage

Public adjusters are there to work for you, the policyholder, to help you financially recover from a loss. Insurance claims hold a variety of complex provisions, processes, clauses, legal terms and issues that need to be addressed in order to maximize your settlement. Basic terminology such as Actual Cash Value, Business Interruption Coverage, Period of Restoration, and Replacement Costs are just a few terms you can be expected to understand when settling a claim by yourself, as well as knowing how your insurance company develops the valuation. Seeing that you most likely do not have specific property claim experience hiring a public adjuster can greatly increase the amount of your claim settlement.

3. When you don't have time to deal with the insurance claims process

Losing a business or home is a stressful time. As a business owner, you will have many responsibilities outside of the insurance claim to handle such as maintaining operations and making vital business recovery decisions. As a home owner, you will have an emotional loss of personal possessions and memories that will affect your entire lifestyle. This is a time when you should be focused on getting your business, home, or family back together on a solid foundation rather than learning the ins-and-outs of the insurance claims process.

Unfortunately, the burden of proof is always on the insured. It is up to you to prove what the insurance company owes you. When you hire our public adjusters, our team will:

  • Evaluate the insurance policy to establish the best possible strategy for presenting your claim to the carrier;
  • Document and substantiate every detail of damaged property;
  • Negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company;
  • Keep you informed every step of the way; and
  • Settle the claim for the maximum amount with less hassle for you.

4. The insurance company is not answering in a timely manner, or you feel they are not adequately evaluating your claim

An insurance claim can be a lengthy process. If you feel you are being neglected by your insurance company (they are not responding to your calls in a timely manner) it would be wise to expand your team to include a public adjuster.

The public adjuster will take over the task of directly communicating with the insurance company for you and will serve as the middle-man to avoid these time-consuming calls and contacts. But, the final settlement decisions will still ultimately stay in your hands. Greg Raab, Director of Consulting Operations at Adjusters International states, "A public adjuster cannot accept or reject any offers without your full authority, you as the policyholder remain in control of decisions with industry expertise and guidance from your public adjuster." The public adjusters know how to get to the people with the answers.

A public adjuster will also make sure that your claim includes all of the related expenses that have resulted from the damage to the insured property. For instance, based on your policy debris removal, loss of business income, the cost of temporary locations, additional living expenses and more could be covered.

Seeking professional help is the wisest decision to make when it comes to dealing with your insurance company in regards to an insured commercial or residential claim. You have spent your life building up your business or home for your family and have paid significant insurance premiums to be protected. Hiring a public adjuster will ensure that your claim is handled correctly, from the very start.

Carl Gross, Vice President and CAO at Globe Midwest/Adjusters International discusses why business owners should use a public adjuster: