Choosing a Public Adjuster: What to Know & What to Ask

There are some important questions to ask!

When a homeowner suffers a loss from a tragedy such as a fire, winter storm, flood, or tornado, the loss can feel crippling. The insurance company will send out an adjuster to investigate the damage. Many times, homeowners grow worried that their lack of knowledge or that of the insurance company adjuster can result in a lower settlement. Policyholders such as home or business owners have the option to hire a public adjuster. Before you put your trust in a public adjuster, there are some important questions to ask.

Is the public adjuster licensed?

Make sure the license applies to the state you are living in. Some adjusters may work for a licensed firm instead of being licensed individually.

Who will physically be working on the case?

Some companies have a sales force who solicit for clients. Yet, this doesn’t mean they are experienced adjusters. It’s important to know the experience level of, and exactly, who will be on your case. Your adjuster should have experience in your type of claim and associated damage.

Have they clarified the compensation?

If a homeowner has already received some money from the insurance company, they can still hire a public adjuster or demand appraisal if they feel the compensation is inadequate or unfair. As the policyholder, make sure to be clear that fees assessed can only come from newly obtained monies from the insurance company. Since the Public Adjuster contract wording is regulated by the State the contract should clearly show the fees as a percentage, tell you of any mandated fee caps, and should mention that you have 3 days to cancel – instructions on how to do so are included.

Remember, Public Adjuster fees are negotiable and should reflect the level of valuable service they will provide.

Appraisal contracts are different and fees should reflect an hourly rate. Appraisers may NOT take a commission or percentage of a claim settlement. Often, Appraisers (Bell Operations included) cap their appraisal fees as not to overburden the claim with unrecoverable expenses.

Do you feel comfortable around the adjuster?

Beware a Public Adjuster that is soliciting 24/7. While the legality of the practice can be questionable, public adjusters should only be contacting you within time frames set by your state insurance departments. Sometimes it can seem that public adjusters are showing up along with the fire department, it can sure feel that way! So, stay calm and trust your gut! Choose someone who can communicate clearly and in a way that you can understand, as you and your adjuster will be in frequent contact.

The Professionals at Bell Operations Systems and its associated firms can fight for the compensation that you as a policyholder deserve. Our adjusters are fully licensed and ready to work with you for you! To learn more visit or to speak to an adjuster, appraiser, or insurance claims consultant, give us a call at (845) 704-7727 today.

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