Dena Standley | March 06, 2023
Summary: An adjuster assesses damages, evaluates the cost of repairs, and establishes the validity of insurance claims. They interview witnesses and claimants, talk to the police, and review hospital records to determine if the company is liable and if the estimate is reasonable.
Insurance companies do not pay out claims without first investigating them. They hire insurance claims adjusters to determine that the company is liable and the claim amount is not exaggerated.
But they are not the only people to use adjusters. You can hire one, too, to ensure that the insurer does not underestimate your damages.
While you can investigate and estimate personal or property settlements, an adjuster is more qualified to do the job. They are less likely to overlook less obvious expenses such as demolition and cleaning costs.
All adjusters perform similar tasks. They only differ based on who hires them, how, and why. The different types of adjusters are as follows:
Here is an explanation of how each adjuster works.
Insurer adjusters work for a specific insurance company. Whenever you file a claim with your insurer, their adjuster goes to work to investigate your claims. They determine whether:
Adjusters also decide how much the insurer should pay you and authorize such payments. To do so, insurer adjusters will interview you and any witnesses. They will evaluate the damages and go through records to ascertain facts.
You should be honest with insurer adjusters but not feel intimidated to stand up for your rights. Remember that they work for the insurance company and aim to negotiate the lowest payment possible. So, if you feel they are unfair, you can hire a public adjuster to help.
A public adjuster works for individual consumers like you to advise on how much damages will cost to repair. They should have a license to practice in your state.
Suppose that you insure your home against natural disasters. If a hurricane destroys the garage, the insurance company should pay to demolish the rubble and rebuild the garage. But you may not know how much you will need to repair the damages. So you hire a public adjuster to work out the costs for you.
As we said earlier, a public adjuster knows to recognize seemingly minor costs that can quickly add up.
Example: A fellow driver rear-ended Harold’s car at a pedestrian crossing. Harold had stopped in accord with the stoplights. The other driver accepted liability, and his insurance agreed to pay. But Harold knew nothing about the cost of car parts and the labor the car needed. So he hired a public adjuster to help. The adjuster examined the damages, talked with a mechanic to establish the cost of repairs, and reviewed Harold's and the other driver's insurance policies. After confirming the estimates, he helped Harold file a claim with the insurance. The public adjuster got paid a percentage of Harold's compensation.
In cases where you feel the public adjuster is not helping, you can hire an attorney and pursue litigation.
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Independent adjusters work like insurer adjusters. The only difference is that rather than be full-time employees, they work as freelancers, taking on jobs on a contract or as-need-be basis. These adjusters help insurance companies who are overwhelmed by claims. They also work for insurers who don’t have an office or regular adjusters near the claimant.
Independent adjusters can advise but cannot represent homeowners in case of claims. You would need to pay a public adjuster to act on your behalf. As shown in the example above, adjusters get paid part of your award, so you do not need to pay them upfront.
You do not need much education to work as an insurance claim adjuster. Sometimes you must be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, and be a bonafide citizen of your state. You may also need to take an insurance exam to obtain a license. Some positions require a college degree, but it's not the norm.
But as with every profession, it is the soft skills that matter most. A claims adjuster needs good communication skills, self-discipline, and motivation to work. You must also be reliable for someone to want to hire you.
An insurance claims adjuster or examiner investigates damages claims to ensure they are not fraudulent and estimates are the correct amounts.
An adjuster can work for an insurance company or an individual consumer to protect their rights when paying or filing a claim.
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