Should a Policyholder Hire a Public Insurance Adjuster for a Claim?

Woman calling a public insurance adjuster
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When you experience damage in your home, to your car or have a theft of your property you may find yourself in a position where you need to make an insurance claim. Anytime there is an insurance claim to be made, there is a good chance you are going to be working with an insurance adjuster who will be assigned to assess the damage and figure out what needs to be paid.

Although filing an insurance claim can be burdensome and can possibly raise your insurance rates for the future, when it comes to car accidents or disaster situations, most insurance policyholders will choose to file a claim and pay the deductible, rather than take on the entire financial burden of the loss themselves.

Most people start a claim by contacting their insurance agent and giving them all the information needed. From there, the next step is to have an insurance adjuster assigned to the claim. Working with the claims adjuster becomes an important part of the claims process.

Three Types of Claims Adjusters

The insurance claims adjuster is the professional who will probably deal with the most during the insurance claims process. There are three main types of insurance claims adjusters.

  • A company adjuster is an employee of the insurance company. This type of insurance claims adjuster is the one most people would be dealing with for their insurance claims.
  • An independent adjuster is an independent contractor that the insurance company pays to handle the claim for the insurance company. Sometimes when an insurance company has a lot of ongoing claims, doesn't have in-house adjusters or needs extra help they will hire reputable independent adjusters to take care of claims for their policyholders.
  • The third type of adjuster, the public insurance adjuster, works for the policyholder. The public insurance adjuster is an independent insurance adjuster but they are hired by the policyholders who are filing the claim.

When Is a Public Insurance Adjuster Most Often Used?

Most people do not use a public insurance adjuster because the insurance company provides an adjuster to them as part of the insurance policy benefits. Many insurance policyholders are happy with the claims process using the insurance company's assigned adjuster.

Public insurance adjusters cost you money because they charge fees. Insurance company assigned insurance adjusters charge their fees to the insurance company, so this doesn't cost the policyholder any extra money.

When a person feels the company's assigned insurance adjuster does not have their best interest at heart, or there are disputes in the claim assessment that have not been resolved by the insurer, hiring a public insurance adjuster is an option to get a second opinion and try and obtain a favorable claim settlement.

Reasons People Choose to Hire Public Insurance Adjusters

There are several reasons why some policyholders choose to hire their own public insurance adjuster. These reasons include:

  • Large losses
  • When the insured feels that the company insurance adjuster is not communicating well with the them
  • When the insured is in disagreement with the decision of the company adjuster, for example, they feel the company adjuster has not reviewed the claim properly, or that damages were left off of the company adjuster’s insurance claim. An insured may choose to hire a public adjuster when they disagree with the decision of the insurance company in handling the claim and in their interpretation of the wording. 

    These are the most common reasons some policyholders hire their own public insurance adjuster but sometimes one may hire a public insurance adjuster just because they are too busy themselves to have to deal with the claims process.

    Whatever the reason, it is good for policyholders to have an option of a public insurance adjuster to represent them in their claim if needed.

    Do You Need to Hire a Public Insurance Adjuster?

    Although having one's own public insurance adjuster sounds like a great way to go, it is not always necessary. Insurance is regulated and if you aren't sure of what is covered or not, you should always try and communicate with your insurance representative first to get clarification and help.

    Insurance companies work hard at adjusting claims and it is in their best interest to settle claims fairly. The reasons things are covered or denied should be clearly outlined in the policy wording and insurance contract, based on the limits within the policy.

    In today's competitive market you can often get help by speaking to your representative. If you are having problems, ask to speak to a supervisor at the insurance company. This may help get things resolved.

    If you are still concerned with how your claim is being handled, you can contact your State Insurance Commissioners Office, or the ombudsman of your insurance company for help.

    Learning what to expect in an insurance claim and keeping open communication will help understand the claim process with your insurance company and help you get the most money out of your claim. This may avoid having to spend any extra money paying a private adjuster.

    It is best to first try to see how the claims process goes with the insurance company and their company adjuster. There are many very experienced and fair insurance adjusters working for insurance companies that will do just as good of a job handling the policyholder's insurance claim as a paid public insurance adjuster would.