Public Adjuster vs Attorney for Property Damage Claims
If you have recently received a settlement offer from your insurance carrier that seems far too low to cover the cost of repairs, it may be time to hire a public adjuster for your property damage claim.
In an ideal world, insurance companies exist to give policy holders peace-of-mind during unforeseen events. If you experience property damage, for example, your homeownerâ€™s insurance should work with you to cover as much of the repairs as your policy will allow.
Unfortunately, there are instances when insurance companies attempt to settle at far lower amounts than are truly needed to cover the cost of repairs. Adjusters may overlook or omit certain damages from their report, or underestimate the cost of certain renovations. Or they may simply be difficult to communicate with or slow to file paperwork.
In any case, if you feel your claim is not being handled in your best interest, you have the option of hiring a public insurance adjuster. These individuals operate independently of your insurance company and can help ensure your claim is being processed fairly.
What Can a Public Adjuster Do?
Public adjusters are able to help with any part of your claim, including:
- Explaining details of your policy to you
- Assessing property damage
- Estimating the cost of repairs
- Filing and appealing claims
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
Essentially, a public adjuster is there to represent you in the claims process. Keep in mind that, although they will do their best to reach a fair settlement, they cannot force your insurance company to pay more.
When Should You Hire a Public Adjuster?
As mentioned above, if you feel your claim is being mishandled in any way, you will want to consult with a public adjuster. Specific scenarios might include:
- You have received a low-ball settlement offer
- Your adjuster communicates poorly or is confusing
- You do not have time to file the claim yourself
- You have an overly-complex policy
- You are being pressured to settle before you are ready
You will have to pay a public adjuster a percentage of your final settlement. This is usually somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the final sum. If the payout is large, however, a good public adjuster will usually cap the fee or lower the percentage. Laws exist in many states to prevent public adjusters from over-charging their clients.
When Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Property Damage Claim?
If you have been working with a public adjuster and are still not making any progress with your insurance company, it might be time to hire an attorney. In addition to facilitating negotiations and speeding the settlement process, an attorney may be necessary if:
- Your claim was wrongfully denied in full or in part (a.k.a. a bad faith claim)
- Your insurance company was negligent in handling your claim
- The claim was unnecessarily delayed
- You received no explanation for why your claim was denied
Property Damage Attorneys in Colorado
Colorado law requires insurance carriers to investigate and pay valid claims in a reasonable amount of time. Companies that fail to do so are held legally responsible for their actions. The attorneys at Roth Milne are specialists in insurance claims, and we have helped hundreds of clients receive the settlement they deserve. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company, contact our office today for a free consultation.