Filing an insurance claim can be a stressful process, but it’s easier and faster with the help of a good insurance adjuster. They help evaluate the extent of damage after a significant incident such as flooding, windstorm, or fire.
Let’s explore who insurance adjusters are and how they handle insurance claims.
Who Is an Insurance Adjuster?
Insurance adjusters or claims adjusters evaluate insurance claims to formulate a fair settlement amount. They handle all types of claims, such as water damage and personal injury.
Once you file an insurance claim, the insurance provider hands it over to an internal insurance adjuster to estimate the repair costs. The insurance adjuster collects and documents the necessary information to help them decide on the insurance company’s financial liability.
What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?
The insurance adjuster plans a home visit and takes photos of the damage. They assess the extent of the damage and interview you and any other witnesses.
The insurance adjuster also consults with other professionals such as roofing experts, architects, and engineers to determine appropriate estimates. Once the investigation completes, they write a report and recommend the insurance company’s amount to cover the losses and damages.
They perform other tasks including:
- Determining the cause of the loss to see if your insurance covers it
- Negotiating with both sides to come up with a reasonable settlement
- Researching, assessing, and verifying damage to the house structure and the contents, plus other additional expenses you incur
- Evaluating losses caused by business interruptions
Types of Insurance Adjusters
There are three main types of insurance adjusters:
1.Company or Staff Insurance Adjusters
Company adjusters are under the insurance company’s employment. Since they are full-time employees, they are mainly on the insurance company’s side and work for their best interest.
Their primary focus is to settle the insurance claim quickly and lower the payout as much as possible.
2. Public Insurance Adjusters
Public insurance adjusters have a license from the state’s insurance division to represent policyholders. The adjuster works for you and receives payment in the form of a percentage of the final settlement amount.
They represent you during negotiations with the insurance company and make decisions on your behalf.
However, it’s essential to note that the insurance company has no obligation to agree or accept the public adjuster’s estimate of the damages. They settle the insurance claim depending on your policy’s terms and conditions.
Before hiring a public adjuster, it’s best to ensure they have a valid license and a good reputation with your state’s insurance division.
3. Independent Insurance Adjusters
Independent insurance adjusters work for insurance companies rather than individuals. They are either part of an independent adjusting bureau or work as independent contractors.
Although they have no obligation to the insurance company, they only have permission to work for the company, not the homeowner.
How to Make an Insurance Claim
An insurance adjuster is essential, but there are additional steps you should take to get the best deal possible.
Step 1: Submit Your Claim
After an emergency, disaster, or accident, it’s essential to get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible to begin the claim process.
First, ensure you document the exact condition of the house and items covered by the insurance policy. Your safety is crucial so avoid entering the house if there’s structural damage that can cause the building to collapse.
- Record your name, home address, policy number, and the specific date and time of the incident
- If your home is in an inhabitable state, let the insurance agent know where and how to reach you
- Write a follow-up letter elaborating on the current state and retain a copy of the letter
Step 2: Prepare for the on-site visit
Before the insurance provider sends a representative to your home, ensure you have the proper documents at hand.
- Write a comprehensive list of the lost or damaged items
- Document the damages on video or photos before you start any repairs
- Retain all the damaged items until the adjuster assesses and approves disposal
- Document the value of lost items using sales receipts, insurance evaluations, or charge account records. If you don’t have the exact records, approximate the value and indicate the date and place of purchase
- List all the repair and cleaning bills, including the cost of renting equipment and specific materials
- Include any extra living expenses during the repair period, such as
- accommodation or motel bills
- rental car bills, and
- restaurant bills
Step 3: The Insurance Adjuster Evaluates the Damage.
Once the insurance adjuster arrives, they document the state of your house before and after the damage.
Ensure you’re present or have a trusted advisor during the visit. Cooperate fully with the adjustor, as their purpose is to assist you with your claim.
They’ll go through your list of lost or damaged items and consult you during the calculations. Once they finish, they will come up with an estimate for the losses and repair costs.
You and the adjuster should agree on the extent of the damage. This agreement details what requires repair or replacement without a dollar value.
Ensure you’re clear on what requires follow-up and why. If there are unclear instructions, clarify with the adjustor and ask for the same in writing.
Step 4: The Insurance Company Offers You Reimbursement
The insurance company reviews the evidence and the adjustor’s notes then give you a reimbursement amount. The length of the process varies depending on your insurance provider and specific circumstances.
Although you can settle structural and property claims separately, sometimes it’s best to handle them together. However, separating them can give you enough time to examine the full extent of the losses.
Avoid rushing to settle your claim, and don’t file until you discover all the damages. If the settlement offer feels unfair, you can discuss it with the adjuster and insurance agent.
If you don’t agree to a settlement, you can contact your state’s insurance division and request mediation. A neutral third party will help you settle amicably.
Although insurance claims adjustors have the proper knowledge, it’s also essential for you to know your insurance policy well. Understanding your rights will help you ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
If you have experienced losses or damages to your home, professional companies like NYTDR are the ultimate solution. Insurance professionals assist you during the claim process to ensure you receive the appropriate amount to cover the total restoration of your home.
The team of home designers and construction experts will redesign the damaged areas to give you the home you dream of. Get in touch today and let the experts lessen your burden.