When, how, and why to get help with your insurance claim...
FAQs and Info about Public Adjusters
Public insurance claims adjusters regularly succeed in helping insured property owners maximize their benefits for property damage claims resulting from fires, storms, hail, floods, accidents, theft, and other catastrophes and covered causes or perils. At Chateau, we've noticed that our policyholders often have a lot of the same questions, so we're taking this opportunity on our blog to answer some frequently asked questions and provide some information. Learn about public adjusters and how they help property owners get the coverage they're entitled to from their insurance.
What is a Public Insurance Adjuster?
Representation for Policyholders in the Insurance Claims Process
Public adjusters» are the only entity legally allowed to represent policyholders (you, the insured) during the complicated and consequential insurance claims process. They are licensed professionals who are experienced in the filing, valuation, appraisal, and negotiation of property damage insurance claims. A public adjuster will work for the insured policyholder, not the insurance company, to help maximize the claims benefit for property loss resulting from covered catastrophes, water damage, roof damage, storms, hail, theft, vandalism, etc. A claims adjuster represents the insurance company, and a public adjuster represents the insured.
What's the difference between an "Independent" Adjuster and a Public Adjuster?
A regular insurance adjuster is the in-house claims adjuster who works for the insurance company. A public adjuster is hired separately by policyholders to represent their interests against the insurance company (it truly is often an oppositional - if not adversarial - relationship). An Independent Adjuster, on the other hand, is also a third party but is hired by the insurance company and usually works on behalf of the insurance company, NOT the insured property owner. Independent Adjusters act as consultants and are often brought in when there is a surge, like in cases of hurricanes and large-scale floods effecting entire communities.
When Can or Should I Hire a Public Insurance Adjuster?
When You Want to Make Sure You Get the Maximum Benefits Approved for your Property Damage Claim
Since insurance companies always want to pay the bare-minimum, it is almost always a good idea to have professional representation of your best interests. With a public adjuster representing the insured home- or business-owner, the property insurance claim is filed thoroughly and completely so that the maximum benefits are sought. Public Adjusters offer no-obligation, free inspections of property damage - so calling an independent adjuster and getting a second, professional opinion about the valuation of your claim is always a good idea.
Even if an insured home- or business-owner is satisfied with the initial settlement offer for damages from their insurance company, it almost always pays to get a second opinion and make sure you are not missing out on additional losses that could be covered under your insurance policy.
How Do Public Adjusters get Paid and How Much do they Cost?
Assessing the Cost of Independent Claims Adjusting and Insurance Claim Representation for Insured Policyholders & Property Owners
The services provided by most licensed public adjuster firms (like here at Chateau) come at ZERO extra cost to the insured policyholder because the independent claims adjuster does not get paid unless they succeed in getting a payout from the insurance company. When that is the case, they take a percentage of the insurance settlement - usually between 5% and 20%. This fee is taken directly out of the insurance payout, so it comes at no cost to the insured property owner. Many public adjusters, like we do at Chateau, have a preferred contractor to whom they refer clients for repairs. This is important: public adjusters often have a lot of experience working with contractors and they know which ones are qualified, licensed, and experienced enough to execute thorough property damage restorations. For us, that's Superior Services of PA & MD - they get the job done right the first time, we know they are properly licensed and insured, and we trust them with our clients' properties. When our policyholders hire Superior to perform the repairs and restorations paid for by the insurance company, the public adjuster fee is waived entirely. In those cases we collect our fee from our contractor.
Will My Insurance Rates go Up if I Hire a Public Adjuster?
Insurance companies don't like it. So will they raise my premiums?
Approving the bare-minimum repairs is great for insurance companies' bottom lines, but really really bad for property owners and their homes/offices. So it is absolutely the case that insurance companies are not thrilled when you hire a public adjuster, because they know it will mean more money for property damage repairs. But they cannot raise your premiums as a penalty for seeking full coverage. State regulations and ethics codes from the Department of Insurance prohibit this.
Realistically, though, it is best for everyone (including mortgage companies) when your property is in good condition, and that means getting the full repairs and restorations when disaster causes damage. In fact, many insurance experts suggest having a conversation with your insurance company every year and discuss how to moderate your premiums. For example, most insurance companies will offer a discount for having a new roof, if the policyholder seeks it. So getting your full roof replacement approved can help keep your premium low.
We hope that we've provided some answers to any questions you have about Public Adjusters and the property damage claims process. See below for some more information about Chateau Public Adjusters and how we serve greater Hanover PA & Carroll County MD homeowners with honest representation and insurance claims assistance.
A Note About Public Perception & Our Commitment to Honesty, Integrity and Duty
We have heard and read the horror stories of policyholders being scammed by con-artists who seek to not only defraud the insurance company but even go so far as to essentially steal from the property owner. These people give us all a bad name, and they are not representative of the majority of public adjusters, and certainly not of us at Chateau. Anyone is free to investigate our reputation either online or through the Maryland and Pennsylvania licensing departments at the bottom of this page. At Chateau we are committed to practicing principles of honesty and integrity not just with our customers but with their insurance companies as well. We have a duty to the entire community, and it would be a failure of that duty to commit insurance fraud. Doing so would cause the entire community to suffer in the form of higher cost of insurance that inevitably results from large-scale fraud. Most importantly, we do not have to engage in any dishonest or fraudulent practice to help our clients because seeking full coverage is precisely what the insurance policy is there for. We put in the work needed to prove it for a given claim if and when it is truly needed.
Our Public Adjuster Get Insured Owners the Money they Deserve
When insurance companies get away with only paying for small repairs, it's almost always because the policyholder just doesn't have the construction and insurance knowledge needed to properly challenge their valuation. If your home is damaged in any way, whether it is interior or exterior damage from wind, rain, floods, storms, etc. contact us for a free inspection and consultation. We'll help you get what you deserve.
Our Service Area
We serve the entire south-central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland areas including all towns and zip codes in the following counties:
- Cumberland, Lancaster, York & Adams Counties in Pennsylvania
- Frederick, Baltimore & Carroll Counties in Maryland