A licensed public claims adjuster can act as an advocate and a personal representative through the process of an insurance claim. However, some public adjusters are much better than others, so it is vital to know the questions to ask a public adjuster before you hire them. Our experts offer these 10 questions to ask before hiring a public claims adjuster in Polk County:
Never hire an unlicensed public adjuster. Always ask to see their individual public adjuster’s license. It is not uncommon for public adjusters to work under another individual or firm’s license rather than becoming credentialed or qualified individually. Therefore, it is ideal that the public adjuster you hire has experience locally or is affiliated with a reputable local company and has a clean record with the authorities.
It is essential to know that you are talking with the individual who will actually be adjusting your property loss claim. If the person you are talking to is simply a sales representative, you will want to speak with the claims adjuster you partner with personally.
This is an important question after a disaster. But, unfortunately, when a public adjuster takes on more claims than they can handle, your claim won't get the attention and care it deserves.
It is essential to determine how long the public adjuster has been licensed and how long they have been practicing in your area before you partner with them. It is vital to work with an adjuster with experience, so if they are new to the industry, you may want to move on to someone else.
Always ask the adjuster you are interviewing to provide you with references for claims they have personally handled in the recent past. It is important to note that many adjusters move around among companies and have short-lived partnerships with the firms they represent. If a claims adjuster has moved around a lot, this may signal that their clients are not fully satisfied with their services.
In most cases, a public claims adjuster in Polk County works on a contingency fee ranging from 5% to 15% of the settlement your insurer pays on your claim. These fees are negotiable in all states and have caps placed in some states. The type and size of your loss and the status of your claim should be part of the fee agreement negotiations. Be sure to discuss whether the adjuster will take a percentage of any money that your insurer has already agreed to pay you in writing but has not paid yet. If you want the public adjuster only to handle portions of your claim, that should also be negotiated upfront.
If you wish to stay involved in your claim after hiring a public adjuster, it is essential to discuss that detail before hiring them. Some public adjusters would prefer that you not communicate with the insurance company adjuster to ensure that they control the process.
Some public claims adjusters do not take fees from additional living expenses and other categories of your insurance benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what items your adjuster will be taking a percentage of before signing a contract.
Knowing the fee for contract termination is an integral part of hiring your public claims adjuster.
It is always good to know your public claims adjuster’s associations with attorneys and law firms so that you can research the firm that they are working with. In many states, public adjusters are not allowed to charge contingency fees unless they are associated with a local attorney because contingency fees are considered the unauthorized practice of law in some areas.