Should I Use A Public Adjuster Or Insurance Agent After A Fire?
So the fire is out and now the decisions have to be made on how to proceed and who to trust. Your home has become the landing pad for contractors and public adjusters. Your friends, co-workers and family all have opinions on how to proceed. Lets try and make some sense of what you are going through and who to trust. And of course, your insurance company says trust us. If in the past you have had issues with getting medical bills paid, car repairs properly made or any other claim then you understand that a fire loss is certainly not the time to put all your faith in the insurance company and the people they suggest you use. So the question remains, should you use a public adjuster or the insurance company adjuster?
First Off, Should You Use The Insurance Agent & Their Adjuster For Your Fire Claim?
The usual instinct after a fire is to turn to your insurance agent. Here is what you must understand; insurance agents believe that they simply owe an obligation to sell you insurance and nothing more. While some take more of an interest, others are simply geared to sell insurance. What is clear is this. Direct insurance agents as opposed to brokers owe a duty to the insurance company and not you in most situations. In other words, your insurance agent is aligned with the insurance company and not you the property owner. Many insurance agents recommend their own people for obvious reasons, but this is a subject for another day.
Insurance Agents do NOT understand all the terms of the policy. They don’t explain what replacement cost, depreciation and actual cash value means when having a claim paid. Interestingly, they rarely explain it when they sell the insurance. Anyone reading this blog should be asking:
- Did my agent explain to me that the insurance company would make me prove my claim and how?
- Will the insurance company adjuster seek to minimize the claim, because they work for the insurance company?
- Does payment get held back until repairs are completed?
Most like the insurance agent that sold you the policy did not discuss any of this. If the agent did, he or she is a rare one and should be commended for doing a good job.
What we have seen in all our years of service is that Insurance Agents usually do NOT counsel, do not prepare estimates or take part in the insurance claim. They are similar to the salesman selling you a car. Once the purchase is made, their job is done. When repairs are needed you see the repair shop, not the salesman. Same goes for insurance, you see the insurance company adjuster.
Remember who butters the representative’s bread? Who pays for all the advertising that steers the business to the agent? Insurance agents and insurance companies have a very close relationship and incentive bonus program. They have profit loss ratios and more that is not really disclosed to the public.
Or Should I Use A Public Adjuster For My Fire Claim?
Clearly the argument is sound. The relationship between insurance agent, insurance company and their contractors of their choice creates conflicts between providing the consumer with the best possible service and earning the highest commission. Insurance agents and their adjusters look to resolve conflict in favor of the insurance company and not you the insured. Public Adjusters like those at Harris Claims Services understand the process and how to handle these conflicts. We have very extensive understanding and experience when it comes to interpreting insurance policies. When understand the limits of what an insurance agent can do in a fire loss situation. We also understand how the litigation process works and prepare each file with that understanding. We of course hope it does not come down to that, but again we prepare such for the benefit of our client’s peace of mind. At all times we are seeking to maximize the claims, resolve the building estimate and personal property claim to benefit our clients, not the insurance company. We do not take orders from the insurance company period. We understand your insurance coverage, temporary housing, and other aspects inside and out.
For over four decades Harris Claims Services has focused on only representing property owners. Our firm always works against insurance companies in a professional and efficient manner. Insurance company adjusters understand that when a qualified public adjuster with years of experience is representing a property owner, that they are confronted with an expert who will do what is necessary to resolve the fire claim in the best interest of you and your family. Insurance adjusters like it when the claims are resolved professionally and honestly. We do exactly that!
We prepare, negotiate, argue and settle insurance claims daily. We understand every aspect of the fire claims process and what needs to be done. More importantly we understand what not to do. We don’t simply inform. We counsel our clients in controlling and handling the fire loss claim. We do this so our clients can focus on their business, home and families. We have the knowledge, the power, the skills and the leverage necessary to establish, maximize, and resolve claims and coverage issues. We work 24/7/365 to help policyholders recover the full benefits available to them under their insurance policy. Consider getting the Harris Advantage if you have suffered a fire loss. We can get you 35% more out of your fire claim! Think of us as your insurance against insurance disputes. The bottom line is simply. As public adjusters, we work for you NOT the insurance company. Insurance company adjusters work for insurance companies and their recommendations should be suspect and examined carefully. Do not be fooled into thinking that you have to hire the insurance company, you don’t! Call us and get honest answers to real, sometimes tough questions.