A public adjuster is a professional who helps you through the entire process of an insurance claim. The services they provide can make a huge difference. Not only does their experience and skill lead to potential increases in the compensation you receive from the insurer, but they're also an invaluable support throughout the process. Most people don't learn much about how insurance works until they have a loss, and the experience can be exhausting and confusing. A public adjuster works for the policyholder to help them get what they're entitled to from the insurer without worrying about missed coverage or misunderstood settlements.
Public Adjuster vs. Insurance Lawyer
Public adjusters are not your only option if you need help filing an insurance claim. Insurance lawyers offer the same services plus some additional expertise. They can carry your case all the way through dispute resolution and even to court if necessary. If another home was impacted by the loss and you're dealing with potential issues around third-party liability or subrogation, you could claim those out-of-pocket expenses that are not ultimately covered by the insurer from the third party instead. It would be wise to hire an insurance lawyer in such cases.
Firms like Virani Law will help you with your home insurance claim by explaining the language of your insurance policy, guiding you through every step of the claims process, and finding inaccuracies in the insurer's appraisal or determinations.
But not all cases need that level of assistance. If you want to know when to hire a public adjuster or insurance lawyer, look for these five signs.
#1 The appraiser provides an inaccurate Scope of Work.
The Scope of Work is an outline of the repairs and rebuilding work that has to be done to restore the structure of your home. Unfortunately there is not necessarily a standard way for this to be done. It could be generated by the insurer's adjuster, a builder, an engineer, etc.
Contractors bid on the Scope of Work (and typically bid low), so the Scope of Work must be accurate. Ensure that contractors aren't underbidding on an already incomplete list of repairs. If the Scope of work is inaccurate, the amount of funding approved will not cover the cost of repairing the home properly.
#2 The appraiser undervalues your lost belongings.
Another area where insurance companies may attempt to underpay is Contents insurance. How the insurer appraises the value of personal belongings may be at odds with your own estimate. The list of belongings can be extensive and each piece is valued (and depreciated) individually, so challenging this can be exhausting and complicated without professional help.
#3 Your insurer isn't communicating with you.
Are you having trouble getting in touch with your insurer? Is work proceeding (or not proceeding) without you hearing any word from the insurer? An insurance lawyer can help get more information from your insurer.
#4 The claim is for a significantly large sum.
In the event of a total loss or significant damage to your home, you depend on your insurance claim to rebuild. Unless you receive an accurate and complete claim calculation, you may have to pay out of pocket to finish the work on your home or replace your belongings. A claims adjuster can increase the funds you receive as part of your claim.
#5 You're not sure about your rights.
It's important to know what you're entitled to, but it's not always clear within the complex language of your insurance contract. A public adjuster or lawyer can explain your insurance policy and make sure you know what you're owed according to your contract.
Get professional help with your insurance claim. Contact a public adjuster or insurance lawyer if you are making a claim for a significant sum or the insurer has undervalued your claim.