Working with a Claims Adjuster
Once you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster employed by the company.
What The Adjuster Does
- Investigates the circumstances of a loss and discusses it with you
- Establishes the extent of the loss
- Provides an assessment of the damage amount to the insurance company
- May help you arrange repairs for your damaged property
- If there's a liability claim, will try to find out who's responsible.
WHN Tip: These services are included in the cost of your insurance policy. There is no additional cost.
The following information may be helpful for your meeting with the adjuster. Have tips you'd like to share with others? E-mail us.
Before You Meet the Adjuster
- Review your policy to learn the type and extent of coverage that you have.
- Make a list of questions to ask.
WHN Tip: Remember you are conducting serious negotiations with someone who is working for your insurance company, not you. Do not minimize the extent of your loss or damage.
Hiring An Independent/Public Adjuster or 'Claims Consultant'
You also may be contacted by or hire a public adjuster who has no relationship with your insurance company to help you in settle your claim. The adjuster will work for you, not your company.
What The Public Adjuster Does
- Works as an intermediary between you and your insurance company
- Negotiates to try to get a maximum amount for your claim
- Provides an independent opinion
- Assists if you are having problems collecting money on your loss
- Handles your inventory
- Obtains estimates for repair on your property.
What It Will Cost
- A percentage (usually 5 to 15% of the amount you recover), or fee for their service.
WHN Tip: An independent adjuster's fee isn't covered by your insurance policy. Sometimes after a disaster, the percentage that public adjusters may charge is set by the insurance department. However, use your best judgment and beware of independent adjusters who get "kickbacks" or "referral fees" that influence their recommendations.
How to Choose A Public Adjuster
- Ask your agent, a lawyer or friends and associates for the name of a professional adjuster they can recommend.
- Avoid individuals who go from door to door after a major disaster unless you are sure they are qualified.
WHN Tip: Check Qualifications
If you decide to use a public adjuster, first check his or her qualifications by calling your state insurance department. Click here to link to your state's insurance department Web site. Most sites offer a 'license lookup' tool.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Read consumer publications, alerts, company and general insurance information. Click here for a link to insurance departments by state. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the organization of insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the four U.S. territories.
National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters
NAPIA is the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Public Adjusters are experts on property loss adjustment who are retained by policy holders to assist in preparing, filing and adjusting insurance claims. NAPIA members across the United States have joined together for the purpose of professional education, certification, and promotion of a code of professional conduct.
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