After a natural disaster, it is important to work with a public adjuster to ensure that you get the best possible settlement from your insurance company. Public adjusters are experts in the claims process and can help you navigate the complex paperwork and negotiations. Here’s what you need to know about working with a public adjuster after a natural disaster.

1. You May Need a Public Adjuster After a Natural Disaster

If your home or business has been damaged by a natural disaster, you may need to hire a public adjuster. In some cases, the damage is so extensive that hiring a public insurance adjuster is required before the insurance company will conduct further inspections of the property. In other cases, hiring a public adjuster can increase your chances of getting a larger settlement from an insurance company.   

2. You Can Pay Your Public Adjuster on Commission 

Most people who have worked with a public adjuster have agreed to pay their adjusters commissions out of their settlements from the insurance companies. The exact percentage varies depending on the state and whether there were multiple insurers involved in the loss claim.

3. Public Adjusters Are Necessary After a Natural Disaster

Home and business owners need a public adjuster after a natural disaster to help navigate the complex claims process with an insurance company. The stress of filing a claim for major storm damage, fire or earthquake can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. A public adjuster will guide you through the paperwork and negotiations with an insurance company, increasing your chances of receiving a larger settlement from all insurers involved in the loss claim.   

4. Public Adjusters Are Experienced with Natural Disasters

Public adjusters are also experienced with natural disasters. They know what to expect from an insurance company and how to handle negotiations when it comes time for the settlement. Public adjusters have experience in loss mitigation, so they can help you prepare your home or business before their inspection. After the close of negotiations with the insurance company, many public adjusters offer clients services like cleaning up debris and further repairs if necessary to get their homes in marketable condition before putting them back on the market for sale.   

5. You Can Work with More Than One Public Adjuster 

Usually homeowners, business owners or renters who file after a natural disaster work with one public adjuster at a time. But you can decide to work with more than one contractor after a natural disaster. For example, if there is damage to multiple buildings on your property or if the insurance company sends different adjusters for each building, it might be easier and less stressful to hire separate public adjusters for each building.   

6. You Will Need an Agent and Other Professionals After a Natural Disaster 

Some homeowners working with a public adjuster may also need the services of other professionals depending on the extent of their damages. Examples of these types of professionals include:

  • Contractors – Repairing damaged areas such as broken roofs and floors as well as cleaning up debris from your home or business;
  • Engineers – To inspect damages and determine if additional repairs are necessary; 
  • Insurance Agents – to review insurance policies with you before the damage occurs or during settlement negotiations.   

If this is your first claim for storm damage, fire or earthquake it may be easier for you to work with all of these professionals at once so you can prepare your home or business for inspection by an adjuster. This preparation may include removing damaged items from the property as well as cleaning up debris left over from the event that caused the damages.   

7. You Can Find a Public Adjuster On Your Own or Through Friends and Family 

The best way to a public adjuster after a natural disaster is to find one through friends or family that have worked with public adjusters in the past. You can also find a public adjuster on your own but it may take more time and research depending on your needs. Regardless of how you decide to hire a public adjuster, make sure they are qualified by checking references from previous customers.   

8. Public Adjusters Are Not Insurance Agents 

Homeowners who are working with a public adjuster should remember that their insurance company will require them to work through their agent during the claims process. The homeowner won’t be able to work directly with their insurer until there is an agreement between themselves and the public adjuster regarding fees.   

If this is your first time filing for storm or flood damage, earthquake or fire, you might want to consider only working with a public adjuster after the event if you accept the settlement offers from your insurer. This will help ease any concerns you may have about dealing directly with insurers during this stressful time.   

9. Public Adjusters Can Help During Claims Season After a Natural Disaster  

Most public adjusters only get involved during the claims process, but some public adjusters are hired during insurance season before any damage has occurred. These public adjusters help homeowners and business owners complete their insurance applications and find lower rates for home or business owners to keep in case something like a fire or natural disaster happens in the future. The best way to find out if you’re eligible for these types of services is to ask your agent during the claims process.   

10. You Might Need Additional Insurance Coverage

If you need additional coverage because your current policy won’t meet of your financial needs, it’s best to not hire a public adjuster. Instead, you should talk to your insurance agent or company representative about their policy on obtaining additional coverage during the claims process.   

Public adjusters are professionals hired by individuals who have suffered damage due to natural disasters. Public adjusters will help homeowners and business owners file claims with their insurers if they need assistance for any reason such as inexperience. The fee you pay the public adjuster is based on a percentage of the final settlement so be sure to ask questions about any fees before you begin working together.   

When looking for a public adjuster after a natural disaster, it’s important that you interview several different people and choose the one who matches your needs and budget. This means you’ll want to ask friends and family for their recommendations as well as check up on references from other people who have used the services of a public adjuster in the past. Checking online to find reviews about various public adjusters is also a great way to see how others feel about a specific individual or business.