In most of the U.S. UU. Today, you can hire a licensed public appraiser with a “contingent” fee (percentage) who will handle your claim and. Many people describe their experience with an insurance claim after a big loss as a full-time job.
The claims process involves preliminary work, paperwork, mathematics, insurance rules, and negotiation. Listing, describing and evaluating everything that was damaged or destroyed, meeting with adjusters, inspectors and contractors, and reviewing reports and estimates takes a lot of time and labor. On top of that, negotiating a fair claim settlement can be very difficult, especially after an emotionally devastating catastrophe. UP offers tips and tools to help you process your claim on your own.
After all, the insurance protection you paid for includes good claims service. But insurance is big business, and you're not on equal terms with a big insurance company. You may find that learning the jargon, doing the math, and ensuring that your claim is thoroughly investigated and paid fairly is too much for you to manage on your own. Depending on your situation: work commitments, health, car-sharing tasks, an uncooperative insurance company, etc.
Everyone's experience and situation are a little different, so when it comes to deciding whether or not to hire a professional to handle insurance claims, the only “right” option is the one that best suits your personal situation. If you have problems with your insurer, or if your personal or professional situation makes it difficult for you to manage all the details, you can hire a professional to help with claims. Today, you can hire an authorized public appraiser at a “contingent” (percentage) fee who will process your claim and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. A public appraiser is a claims assistance professional that you can hire to represent you in the documentation and negotiation of your insurance claim.
A public appraiser works only for the insured, not for the insurers. Once you decide that you want to hire help to process claims, the key is to find an experienced public appraiser with good references who will hire you as a customer for a fair price. The larger your claim, the easier it will be to find someone who meets that requirement. Many of the most experienced public appraisers prefer to process commercial and large claims because they generate higher fees.
Be very careful to check references before hiring a public appraiser for a minor loss of money. Smaller losses can take as much time as larger losses, so you need to make sure that the person you hire doesn't sign you up, and then spend their time on bigger losses and leave you in suspense. As with all professionals, it's important to check references carefully and hire someone you trust and feel comfortable working with. You can use the United Policyholder's “Find Help” directory to locate professionals in your area.
Your insurance company may assign one or more different adjusters to your claim over time. Everyone can have a different approach and level of experience. One may have very little experience and be difficult to communicate with, another may be very friendly and have a lot of experience. Many people tell United policyholders that their first appraiser offered them a settlement amount, then they left the company or were reassigned, and when a new adjuster arrived, that new adjuster either cancelled the offer or made them start from scratch with the claim.
We refer to that problem as “swivel adjusters”. United Policyholders has helped pass laws that require insurers to provide reports on the status of claims to protect consumers from frustration, delays and confusion due to the turnover of appraisers. When you file a claim, you may be fine on your own, or you may be better off hiring help. It's an individual decision that you must make based on your own circumstances.
A licensed public appraiser can be your representative and advocate in the process of “adjusting (processing) your claim” and “liquidating” it (paid). As with any professional, some public adjusters are better than others. The last thing you need when you've suffered a major loss are additional problems, so check carefully before hiring. Resist high-pressure sales pitches and don't hire prematurely.
Documenting and managing a catastrophic loss of property is time consuming and burdensome for even the most sophisticated policyholders. It's difficult for you, the insured, to know if you're getting everything you owe under your insurance policy. In fact, your policy may give you extended coverage beyond the dollar limits set out in the policy and much more than what the insurer offers you. An experienced claims lawyer on your side can be a strong voice for you in the process and provide you with much more information and negotiating influence in your final insurance agreement than you would have on your own.
Rather than relying on the insurance company to decide how much you'll receive to rebuild your home, hiring a good public appraiser can help you receive the best possible settlement. It is essential to check references and agree on rates and conditions before entering into a contract with a public appraiser. Once the contract is executed, you are obliged to pay for the services provided during the term of the contract. Visit United's policyholder claims help library, read your policy and endorsements (extras), and be sure to review the policy with any public appraiser you're considering hiring before hiring you.
The above tip sheet was prepared by Amy Bach, co-founder of United Policyholders, and Robert Crown. Robert is a UP volunteer and a licensed public adjuster based in the San Francisco Bay Area with Crown Adjusting, LLC. Some public adjustment firms send one appraiser to make an estimate and another to follow up and thoroughly analyze a claim. As a policyholder, you may prefer to work personally with a single adjuster, but having a company send more than one person can be a good thing.
A particular appraiser might take over the claim simply because they have more experience with a certain type of damage, such as fire or flood. Here are 4 ways a public appraiser can help resolve insurance claims. Miller Public Adjusters currently serves the states of Wisconsin, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas. In the case of a minor claim, a public appraiser may be able to find text in your insurance contract that could result in thousands of additional dollars for your claim.
You can also ask lawyers or call other public appraisers to see what they know about these people. Policyholders should be sure that they are claiming the right amount, and hiring a public appraiser is the best way to do that. A public appraiser can help reopen a claim with the insurer and file a supplementary claim for additional payments. A public insurance adjuster is an independent, trained insurance professional who helps people with the home insurance claim process.
You'll have to pay a fee to hire one of these licensed professionals, but a public appraiser can save you a lot of money by ensuring that your insurance company pays the full amount you're responsible for, depending on your coverage. Public appraisers can file and negotiate claims for damage caused by floods, fires, smoke, wind and hurricanes, as well as for damage due to other hazards and even for loss of business income if caused by property damage. As an independent insurance professional, a public appraiser works for the policyholder to ensure that their claim is resolved fairly and efficiently. A public appraiser can help you with the claims process and ensure that your payment is fair and accurately reflects the damages and your coverage.
For any home insurance claim, a public appraiser can point you to the money in the claims to which you are entitled and that you didn't even know. After all, you can't expect a homeowner to be an insurance expert. Good insurance adjusters often rely on word-of-mouth recommendations for new businesses, so if you know a good public appraiser, tell a friend. .