Property Insurance Adjusters Post-Hurricane Irma

The United States has endured catastrophic damage across several states in recent months from record-breaking hurricanes. Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast of Texas and the Houston area on August 25, followed by Hurricane Irma’s touchdown in Florida on September 10. Ten days later Hurricane Maria inflicted unprecedented damage across the entirety of Puerto Rico. On October 7, Hurricane Nate made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Considering these disasters, it’s wise for property owners to understand how public insurance adjusters operate. Those who suffered serious losses from Hurricane Irma and other storms this season are likely facing a great deal of stress when it comes to filing claims for their damaged property. Insurance companies are overwhelmed with claim processing, and claims for natural disaster damage are some of the most complex insurance issues a homeowner can face.

How Public Insurance Adjusters Work

Instead of contending with red tape and delays while dealing with insurance companies, public insurance adjusters act as representatives for private home and property owners. Insurance companies send their own adjusters to investigate claims, and public adjusters often negotiate with insurers’ adjusters for claim payouts. Citizens who have suffered tragic losses can save a great deal of frustration by working with a public insurance adjuster for insurance claims after natural disasters.

A public adjuster will file a claim with your insurer and provide an estimate of total cost of all your damages. Public insurance adjusters typically handle claims resulting from fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, wind damage, theft, arson, vandalism, and other unpredictable disasters. While insurers’ adjusters look for any reason to deny a claim or pay out a total claim amount, public adjusters aren’t afraid of dealing with large insurance companies and essentially level the playing field for private property owners.

When to Hire a Public Adjuster

It’s not always necessary – or wise – to hire a public adjuster. If your total claim amount is close to your policy’s deductible amount, you shouldn’t hire a public adjuster. In some cases where the damage is less than or equal to your deductible, it may be more beneficial to refrain from filing a claim at all to prevent your premiums from increasing. However, if your claim amount is $10,000 or more, a public adjuster can be a tremendous asset. Additionally, hiring a public adjuster is a good idea for claims with multiple elements, such as a claim involving flood damage and home structural damage.

It’s also important to consider the cost of hiring a public insurance adjuster. In most cases, public adjusters bill according to a percentage of your total claim amount. State insurance regulators place limits on these fees, and some public adjusters are willing to negotiate billing with clients. If you think a public adjuster may be able to help with your claim, ask friends and relatives if they know any trustworthy and competent public insurance adjusters they would recommend. You can also verify a potential adjuster by contacting the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. If you have an adjuster in mind, check his or her qualifications with your state insurance department and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.