Navigating Fire Insurance Claims With Public Adjusters – As a major hurricane hits Florida, thousands of people are also dealing with storm damage. It also means filing claims with insurance companies and hoping they pay enough to cover the cost of repairs.
Hiring a state insurance adjuster can help streamline the claims process and reduce the stress homeowners experience after a hurricane.
Navigating Fire Insurance Claims With Public Adjusters
A state insurance adjuster is a third-party representative who works on behalf of the insured. For example, homeowners can hire a state insurance adjuster to handle their insurance claims. The state insurance adjuster would then work on behalf of the homeowner, and all of his services would also be paid for by the homeowner. However, the payment depends on whether you win the claim, as it is a percentage of what the adjuster can get from the insurance company for you.
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A state insurance adjuster and an independent insurance adjuster are similar in that they are both third-party representatives who are not directly employed by either the homeowner or the insurance company. Instead, either party hires them to outsource part or all of the claims process.
A state insurance adjuster works on behalf of the homeowner or other insured, while an independent insurance adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company.
When you file a claim with your insurance company, an insurance adjuster must come out and assess the damage to determine how much the insurance company is responsible for. After an event like a hurricane, an insurance company may not have enough of its own insurance adjusters to process all the incoming claims. So they will hire independent insurance adjusters to handle some of these claims.
One person could hold both a state insurance adjuster license and an independent insurance adjuster license. However, they cannot act as both for the same requirement.
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A state insurance adjuster can help homeowners properly file claims with insurance companies and help policyholders resolve insurance claims. They may be more familiar with the claims process and can help homeowners get more money from their insurance companies by advocating on their behalf.
The state insurance adjuster can’t get more money than what’s on your policy. However, they can help you get more than what is allowed under your policy than the insurance company is initially willing to pay.
Generally, the state insurance adjuster can charge up to 20% of your settlement from your insurance company. Since pay is based on a percentage, a state insurance adjuster’s pay depends on how much they can help you get from your insurance company.
The percentage may change during a disaster such as a hurricane. In Florida, the standard fee that the state insurance adjuster can charge is 20%, but it is reduced to 10% when a state of emergency is declared. That lower rate applies to that particular claim for up to one year after that claim is filed.
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If you’re going to hire a state insurance adjuster, you’ll want to make sure you’re hiring a reliable and fully qualified one to help you.
One way to find a public claims adjuster is to ask friends and family if they have any recommendations. If they don’t know anyone, another option is to search online. With the Better Business Bureau, you can search for companies and professionals in almost any industry. You can also check the National Association of Public Service Adjusters website to search for a public adjuster by state.
Before you hire someone, be sure to check their qualifications. You will need to make sure they are licensed to practice in Florida. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see the adjuster’s activity records.
If a public insurance professional forces you to sign a contract before you have read and understood it, you should look elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to avoid an adjuster who goes door-to-door after a storm. Generally, reputable adjusters are too busy handling claims and trying to find new clients by knocking on doors.
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It’s also a good idea to make sure your state insurance adjuster has no prior ties to your insurance company if they hold both a state and independent insurance adjuster license.
Some state insurance adjusters can help you not only with claims, but with claims that have already been filed. Whether you’d like to make a claim yourself and then use a state insurance specialist to handle the claim, or have state insurance adjusters help you file, you’ll need to do the following:
The more information you can gather about the damage, including photographic evidence, the better. Before calling the insurance company, take a close look at your property and make sure you document everything. After a hurricane, this will be a lot and can take time, but it’s important to be able to prove the full extent of the damage in order to get the most out of your insurance policy.
If you had to start fixing some damage because it was dangerous, pay attention to that. Take both before and after photos so it’s noted on your claim, but if there’s an emergency, make sure you do what you need to do to resolve it. If you have to call the police, ambulance or fire brigade, also make a note of this and keep a copy of the report.
Public Insurance Adjuster For Handling Claims
A state insurance adjuster can help you get more money back than you could on your own, but they can’t get money for anything other than what’s actually on your policy. However, you can ask your adjuster to help you understand your policy and make sure you know exactly what is covered.
Depending on your insurance company, hurricane damage may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy and not necessarily require a separate policy. However, there may be a separate deductible for hurricane damage in addition to the regular deductible.
A homeowner’s insurance policy or hurricane insurance policy may cover wind or rain damage, but may not cover flood damage. If you live in an area of Florida that is at risk of major flooding during a hurricane, you may need to have a separate flood insurance policy. However, many people unfortunately don’t keep it because flood insurance can be expensive.
If you don’t have flood insurance or your insurance policy doesn’t cover floods, you’re completely out of luck. Fortunately, there are resources offered by the government to help with disasters.
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FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency and is the government organization that manages disaster recovery. Hurricanes typically fall under FEMA’s jurisdiction, and they have resources to assist individuals and the broader recovery effort.
FEMA offers flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program. If you already have a policy with NFIP, you can file a claim there. If you don’t, it might be worth looking into future policy development.
You can apply for disaster assistance with FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov. If you need help after Hurricane Ian, you can apply here: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673. This website lists state, local, and national resources you can access for help and information about how to apply for help.
If you would like to contact a financial advisor during this process, click here to speak with an AllGen Financial Advisor!
Fire Damage Insurance Claims
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