Role of an Home Insurance Adjuster
The home insurance adjuster is the insurance company’s representative when you have an insurance claim. They work on behalf of the insurance company to determine the validity of the claim and to determine how much they should pay you for the claim.
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While the adjuster’s job is to settle your claim as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, they still help you get the money you deserve. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with an adjuster can help lower the stress of working with an adjuster.
What do Adjusters Look For?
The adjuster’s job is to assess the damage. The time it takes and what they look for depends on the type of claim you filed. The adjuster will also ask you a series of questions. It’s their job to determine if any of the damage was pre-existing, so expect the questions to be tough – be prepared.
The adjuster’s goal, according to the insurance company, is to minimize the payout. This isn’t to say that they are going to cheat you out of money. But, they will do what they can to lower the payout, if possible. It’s in your best interest to have pictures and written proof of the damages to back up your claim.
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How to Negotiate with a Home Insurance Adjuster
Like we said above, the insurance adjuster will try to pay you as little as possible for your claim. The good news is that you can negotiate a higher settlement as long as it’s within your policy limits. First, you need to determine what you need to negotiate:
Cost of the repairs – If the insurance company won’t cover the full cost of the repairs, find out the reason. You can then go back to the contractor and ask for written proof of the reason for the costs. If the insurance company still balks, you can get a second opinion from another contractor to show the insurance company that the quotes are similar (assuming that they are).
Cost of personal property – It’s harder to fight the settlement for personal property, but with the right documentation you can do it. First, you need to know the type of coverage that you have; is it actual cash value or replacement value? If it’s actual cash value, you’ll have to account for depreciation. If it’s replacement value, you’ll need to provide receipts for the replacement items. Either way, you’ll need receipts from the original purchase and to ask questions about how they figured the depreciation.
Liability claims – If you aren’t satisfied with the liability payment you received, pull out all documentation that you have relating to the liability. This could include hospital bills or bills to restore damaged property. Again, ask the insurance company specific questions about what they have an issue with and then ask the provider (medical company or contractor) for written proof to validate the costs.
Get Everything in Writing
Don’t make the mistake of accepting terms verbally. There’s nothing to prove the agreement if there’s a fallout down the road. Also, watch how much you say to the adjuster. Remember, it’s his job to pay you as little as possible for the claim. The more information you provide, the more he can use it against you to prove a pre-existing issue with the home.
Don’t agree to anything until you’ve had time to review the written agreement. Read the fine print and have a friend or even hire an attorney to read it too. This way you know that you are getting a fair payout for your home insurance claim.
Dealing with an insurance adjuster doesn’t have to be a negative experience. As long as you are fully prepared for their questions and have as much as possible in writing, you should be able to have a smooth process. Don’t let the adjuster rush you through the process, though, take your time and read everything so that you know you are getting a fair deal.
Meta Description: Dealing with an insurance adjuster may seem frightening, but they are just the go-between for you and the insurance agent. Learn the proper way to deal with them to ensure a smooth process.
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