Few people enjoy paying for insurance, but it’s a necessary expense. Insurance provides the desired financial security in times of unforeseen, severe complications with your home or possessions.
When an unfortunate event like a fire or hail damage to your roof occurs, you should call your insurance agent as soon as possible. In 2020, about 6% of homeowners filed claims to their insurance company for floods, lightning damage, or home fires.
Insurance companies have a bad reputation for paying out claims. The truth is that they don’t always pay as much and as promptly as some would like. In fact, insurance companies have a duty to their shareholders to pay out as little as possible. The insurance industry has a profit margin of about 3%. Given that information, it’s obvious why some homeowners claim is not paid quickly or for the deserved amount.
This is why it can be necessary to hire a public insurance adjuster when dealing with large insurance claims. Let’s take a look at what a public adjuster does and some of the benefits, for you, of hiring one.
The Insurance Claim Process
The insurance process begins when you call the claims department of your insurer. From there, a representative will contact an adjuster to investigate and assess your claim. This adjuster will be someone hired by the insurance company who will work with the insurance company’s interests in mind. And the insurance company’s interest, of course, is to pay out less money on claims.
The adjuster will inspect the damages to your house and belongings, make an estimate of how much work it would take to repair them (along with the cost), and then offer you a settlement. If the amount of this settlement is lower than you believe it should be, that’s when you need to hire a public insurance adjuster.
A public adjuster can help in these negotiations by looking out for your best interests by negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.
Public vs. Private Insurance Adjusters: What’s the Difference?
In short, private insurance adjusters represent the interests of the insurance company, while public adjusters are on your side. Private adjusters aim to settle claims for as little money as possible, regardless of how much you may need or deserve, while a public adjuster aims to get you the proper amount for your claim.
Private insurance adjusters are hired specifically to minimize payouts on your claims. Public insurance adjusters, on the other hand, are hired by Lakewood residents who wish to receive fair compensation for their claims.
If you look back at how much profit the insurance companies make each year, it becomes clear why public insurance adjusters may be necessary in some Lakewood homeowners’ cases.
Does a Public Adjuster Have to be Licenced to Work in Lakewood, CO.?
Colorado, like most states, has strict standards for public adjusters. To be eligible to become a licensed public insurance adjuster, an applicant must have undergone intensive training in the profession and show knowledge of various aspects such as policies, claims review and inspecting damage or identifying hazards. Qualified public adjusters often also have a membership with their profession’s professional organization, which requires skill standards.
Lakewood public insurance adjusters are required to be licensed to work in Colorado. You can verify that your Lakewood public adjuster is accredited by validating their license status on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agency website.
What Skills Should I Look for When Choosing a Public Adjuster?
You should also expect a public adjuster to know the ins and out of housing and business claims. They should also have some negotiating skills as they work with insurance company adjusters to reach an agreement. Most important, they should know how to work for you.
A Lakewood public adjuster will offer comfort by knowing the laws and regulations in Lakewood. He or she will be able to tell you what your policy covers, whether your insurer is being reasonable with their settlement offer, and other pertinent information which may help decide how much of a settlement you would like to go after.
Additionally, the emotional stress for you that comes from dealing with significant property loss can be difficult to handle. A good public adjuster will be able to not only talk about the settlement amount but also offer their professional unbiased guidance as you deal with your loss.
Finding Damages that the Insurance Company’s Adjuster “Missed”
If a big disaster hits your home, there could be things that need fixing you can’t see at the surface. It’s the job of public adjusters to uncover these things that a regular insurance adjuster may have “missed.”
A Lakewood public adjuster can help you determine whether your policy requires full replacement of damaged or lost items, or if it only covers partial replacement. This is an important distinction as a full replacement means that the insurer has to cover the cost of a replacement item, be it a new roof or a new car.
When you talk about the “full replacement” of an item, it could refer to either a new replacement or the same thing that was damaged or destroyed. For example, if your house is made from wood and there are burnt sections on your roof, you may have to replace the whole thing with a new wooden roof – but this still counts as a full replacement.
Can a Public Adjuster Secure a Larger Settlement for Me?
Public adjusters sometimes have the resources and expertise to increase an insurance settlement for their clients. One reason for this is that a public adjuster may have more time to devote to an individual case than a staff adjuster with the insurance company.
Because public adjusters are not employed by the insurance company, they can do things like negotiating directly with the insurance company for you. They do this because they are working on your behalf to get a larger settlement for you.
Are There Any Reasons NOT to Hire a Public Adjuster?
While it is generally a good idea in Lakewood to hire a public insurance adjuster, especially for large claims, there are a few potential drawbacks worth discussing:
- Some only work major claims. Some adjusters will only take on cases that are worth more than a certain amount of money. Getting public adjusters involved in an insurance claim might be harder for claims worth only a few thousand dollars. Claims of this size don’t seem like they’re worth their percentage, so often larger ones get the adjustment instead. Before hiring a public adjuster, research the kind of work they do.
- Paying a public adjuster can get complicated. In theory, there should be no out-of-pocket expense to hire a public adjuster as they will only collect a percentage of the final settlement – typically somewhere around 25%. In reality, however, there can be some costs that get added into the mix. One extra fee is for service-related expenses like photocopies and postage or travel to and from client homes. Make sure to discuss in detail with your adjuster how they will get paid and fees there may be.
- It can take a longer time to receive your settlement. Because a public insurance adjuster must negotiate with your insurance company and share its findings with you, your settlement process could take longer than if you just accept what your insurance company initially offers.
Will My Lakewood Public Insurance Adjuster Advise if I Need Legal Help?
Public adjusters are not lawyers, so they cannot offer legal advice. However, most adjusters will tell you if an attorney needs to get involved with your claim. If you think that you may need help with your insurance claim from a lawyer, it is important to discuss this with your public adjuster before moving forward. They can only advise and negotiate in areas where they have expertise.
I Think I Need a Public Adjuster for My Claim. What’s Next?
This article has covered a lot of valuable information about the importance of public adjusters. For some, these professionals are worth their weight in gold because they know how to navigate the complex world of insurance claims and help you get your fair share.
If this sounds like what you need for your claim or project, please contact Public Insurance Adjusters of Colorado today so we can discuss how we can work together on an agreement that meets your needs and budget requirements! We look forward to hearing from you soon!
450 Lincoln St suite 104, Denver, CO 80203