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How to Deal Effectively With a Loss Adjuster

August 23, 2020

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An insurance or loss adjuster is hired to investigate insurance claims. If you’ve suffered property loss or damage, you might hire an adjuster to negotiate with your insurance company for the highest payout or settlement possible, and to help you navigate everything necessary to file that claim properly.

To deal effectively with a loss adjuster:

  • Have your insurance policy paperwork ready for them. This includes the actually policy itself and not just a proof of insurance or similar statement.
  • Have paperwork regarding your loss ready; this might include police reports, medical records in cases of injuries, and so on.
  • If you’ve ever inventoried your property for your insurance company or any other purpose, this can also help a loss adjuster negotiate your claim.
  • If you’ve already taken steps to address your loss or damage, such as hiring a water damage cleanup company or taking a vehicle to a repair shop, have their estimates, receipts, etc., ready.
  • Be prepared for an adjuster to investigate a claim themselves; they might inspect damaged property, interview witnesses, and so on.
  • Remember that a loss adjuster tries to secure the highest possible payout; if a settlement isn’t to your liking, understand that an adjuster cannot force an insurer to offer a higher settlement.

To help you obtain the most amount possible from your insurer, it’s helpful to know a bit more about how an insurance adjuster works and when they’re needed. You might also note some added tips about what they’ll need from you in order to do their job effectively!

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A property owner might also note what a loss adjuster cannot do for them, and the difference between an adjuster and an attorney. You’ll then be more likely to get a maximum payout if you should ever suffer property damage or any other loss, and will know how a loss adjuster can benefit you in those cases.

Simple Tips for Dealing Effectively With a Loss Adjuster

A person might hire a loss adjuster if they’ve suffered serious property damage or a catastrophic injury and have not gotten what they feel is a reasonable settlement offer from their insurer. The insurance adjuster often works for a small percentage of any claim they secure for you, motivating them to obtain the highest payout possible! To help this process along, note some added details about what a loss adjuster does, when they’re needed, and how to work with them effectively.

  • A loss adjuster will need to know the “ins and outs” of your insurance policy, including its value and what’s covered and not covered. The adjuster and your insurer will work within those policy limits, so don’t assume your adjuster can simply demand a certain amount from your insurer.
  • Have your policy paperwork ready for them when you call. This includes all policy records and not just a proof of insurance or other such statement.
  • Your loss adjuster will ask you questions about your loss but will also investigate the matter on their own, so have all paperwork regarding your loss ready for him or her. This includes police statements for property damage or vehicular accidents, medical reports in cases of accidents or insured illnesses, and so on.
  • Since a loss adjuster will investigate claims on their own, remember that it does no good to try to hide information from them! If a police report includes witness statements conflicting with yours, as an example, the adjuster will no doubt find those statements during their investigation, so don’t assume you can simply withhold information and get a higher payout from your insurer.
  • One common aspect of a loss adjuster’s investigation is inspecting property damage themselves. Don’t be surprised if they want to go through your home or business after a fire, flood, or other such accident, and inspect damaged items or photos of destroyed items such as artwork and furniture.
  • An insurance adjuster might also ask for receipts of various items damaged in a fire or flood, or for details about those items so he or she can research their estimated value. Be prepared to note those details in full so they can fully investigate and research your losses.
  • If you haven’t yet filed a claim or if your insurer is asking for additional paperwork and other such requirements, a loss adjuster can assist in this process. Their help ensures you don’t overlook needed papers, receipts, proof of damage, and other such items, reducing delays in a settlement offer.

When and Why You Need a Loss Adjuster

Keep in mind that you’re not legally or otherwise required to hire a loss adjuster when dealing with your insurance company. You can negotiate with your insurance company yourself for any property loss or damage; if you receive what you feel is a fair settlement or payout offer, you are certainly free to accept it!

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Some claims are also so minor that property owners might not feel it’s worth their time or effort to find and work with an insurance adjuster. For instance, you might think that your insurance company is offering a payout that is just a few hundred dollars less than what you think you should receive. If you don’t feel those few extra dollars are worth the time it takes to work with a loss adjuster, then you might not need to hire one.

However, it’s vital that property owners understand when and why a loss adjuster is the best choice for them. For example, you might be willing to forego negotiating with your insurance company over a few hundred dollars, but hiring a loss adjuster is worth the time and effort if you sincerely think you should be getting several thousand dollars more than what’s being offered!

It can also benefit a property owner to hire a loss adjuster if certain claims might be overly detailed and difficult to navigate on your own. For instance, if your vehicle is totaled, you only need to present your insurance company with proof of damage and repair shop estimates, and typically nothing else. If your home or business has suffered a fire or flood, however, your claim then becomes more complicated!

A loss adjuster can help a property owner claim all items damaged or lost in such events, including artwork, furniture, household items, office equipment, and the like. This is also true of medical claims, such as from a slip and fall accident or injury due to someone’s negligence. Rather than trying to negotiate the paperwork and requirements needed to file the claim on your own, and risk overlooking something, a loss adjuster can help you through that process and ensure nothing is missed.

How Much Does a Loss Adjuster Charge?

Most loss adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement or payout they negotiate for you, but might raise that percentage accordingly. For instance, they might charge 5% to 8% of all payouts less than $100,000 and then 10% or more of all payouts over $100,000. This ensures that they work as hard as possible to secure a maximum payout for their clients!

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As with any other professional you hire, an insurance adjuster should provide you with a written contractor detailing their charges, along with the work they’ll be performing and what they might need from you in the process. You can then discuss any questions or concerns with them before signing that agreement, so you know what to expect by way of negotiations, their fees, and all other details.

What’s the Difference Between a Loss Adjuster, Public Adjuster, and Lawyer?

Insurance companies hire adjusters to investigate claims and then offer a settlement or payout to the policyholder; he or she might be a different person than your insurance agent, whose job it is to sell you an insurance policy, negotiate rates, collect overdue payments, and so on. A public adjuster is also a loss or insurance adjuster but he or she works for the public, meaning the policyholder!

While a loss adjuster can typically secure the maximum amount of money from an insurance company, note that they are not usually lawyers and cannot give you legal advice or represent you in court. If, for example, you strongly feel that a proposed settlement or payout is still far less than you deserve, you might then need to take an insurance company to court. In that case, you would then need a lawyer, as your loss adjuster cannot assist or represent you through that process.

Note, too, that a loss adjuster cannot give you legal advice but can help you better understand your insurance policy. If you’re having difficult filing a claim simply because you’re unsure if certain losses are covered, a loss adjuster can explain your policy, its coverage and provisions, how to file that claim, and what to expect by way of a reasonable payout. While this doesn’t constitute legal advice, their assistance can make the entire process easier for you and you can better understand what to expect from an insurance company, given the details of a policy.

 

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