What does a public adjuster typically claim in an insurance claim?

I lost my home in March. High winds caused by a large, windy storm caused my neighbors tree to fall on my house. It caused significant damage, damaging the roof, a few rooms, extensive floor beam damage, beam support damage, and floor beam damage. The house was deemed condemned by the city. They ruled it as an act of God.

We hired an adjuster to deal with our insurance claims and our insurance in general. He stated that he was going to receive 10% of the money that he got us from the insurance. We never signed an official contract with him, nor did we sign any documentation besides checks we received from the insurance.

We are a family of 8 and we temporarily moved into a hotel in 2 separate rooms. We stayed there for a period of 5 weeks while we waited for the adjuster to help us get money from the insurance so they can pay for us to move into a rental home. We could not afford to pay for the mortgage on our damaged house while paying for the rent on the rental home.

He promised us that the insurance would provide money so we could feed our family. Instead, I ended up being over drafted on my account for an amount of approximately $6000.00 for meal expenses. During this time we tried to save money by cooking food and bringing it into the hotel, but the hotel would not allow us to. Due to accumulating over draft charges on my account for all the expenses, I ended up having to use the money the adjuster got us for rent on the new home towards settling my negative balance while paying for the rent on the new home out of my pocket.

He gave us a final estimate with the percent of money he is getting from us a few days. In the percentage that he claimed was the money that our insurance gave us for living expenses such as food and rent.

My question is this: He states that he is allowed to claim 10% but what does this entail? When we initially hired him, we agreed that the 10% is based on the money that he will get us for the house not for the rent on the home, the hotel, and the money given to for living expenses.

He also talks to us in a condescending manner and states that we are ungrateful for what we has done for us. He made us save all of our food receipts while we bought take out food while we were at the hotel, but we received no money for this.

My dad recently was recently laid off from his job as a senior architect, because the contract was completed so we need all the money we can get to hold us over while I finish up college and he searches for a job.

Many thanks for taking your time to read this and thanks in advance for the response I hope to receive.

Update:

Wow, I had no idea that we messed up so much. We panicked when all of this happened and we listened to our neighbors that had similar homeowner's issues.

They told us that dealing with the insurance was the biggest hassle. We panicked from our previous insurance bouts with cars and so forth.

7 Answers

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  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Hiring a public adjuster, BEFORE you get your offers from your insurance company, is throwing your money away.

    I guarantee you, public adjuster isn't going to start working on this case, UNTIL someone signs that contract agreeing to pay them - so you saying nothing was signed, is NOT TRUE, if this adjuster is working your case. Flat out. Maybe you just don't realize that dad - or mom - signed the contract.

    The adjuster doesn't usually get you any extra money - but he's read the policy form, and knows what you're actually entitled to. Loss of use, the insurance company should have started paying right away - UNLESS there's a coverage issue. You don't get TOTAL grocery bills. After all, you were buying groceries before. You only get "increased costs". ADDITIONAL expenses.

    What you agreed, is clearly in writing. You put it in writing, he turned it in to the insurance, and the insurance is going to pay HIM FIRST. Typically, it's 10% of the TOTAL CLAIM. The whole shebang. Loss of use, additional living expenses, debris removal, and cost to fix the house.

    So, if your entire claim is $100,000, and you have a $1,000 deductible, you will actually get $89,000 - his cut first, then your deductible, and you get what's left.

    Next time, before you jump to hire a public adjuster . . . use your agent. Your AGENT can do whatever the PA can do - for free, and MUCH, MUCH faster.

  • Dion J
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    I am a former adjuster, and have dealt with public adjusters on many claims.

    They typically get 10% of ALL portions of the claim- Building, personal property, and additional living expenses.

    If you eat restaurant food, insurance usually pays 2/3 of the cost as "additional"; if there had been no loss, there still would have been a food expense. You need to submit your receipts, and get reimbursed.

    It is very unusual for a Public Adjuster to work without a contract, probably illegal, depending on your state's laws. Insurance companies won't name a PA on a check without a contract.

    * To correct some of the other posters-

    Insurance agents do NOT handle claims on behalf of homeowners. They do not have the time or expertise, and if they attempt to do so, they very well may foul things up for you.

    And, the insurance company adjusters do not represent YOU or your best interests (although some may claim to) they represent the best interest of the insurance company.

    In general, insurance people dislike public adjusters, and it shows in their answers to this question.

  • Betsy
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Several years ago my husband's house burned down when it was struck by lightning. The insurance company was horrible, horrible, horrible. The city was going to issue a demolition order, and the insurance company was insisting they would not pay for the demolition but would give us only a small portion of the cost of remodeling. I had just finished talking with the insurance agent and told her I was going to call the insurance commissioner (generally useless in my state). Despairing, I started paging through the insurance section of the phone book and came upon the public adjuster subheading. In contrast to the insurance agent, the public adjusters were incredibly helpful. They took care of everything and got us a reasonable settlement. They deserved every penny we paid them and probably more. (We did have a contract.)

    The insurance agents wouldn't even give us a copy of the policy. Didn't we have one? Of course the house had just burned down, and the policy was inside. The company adjusters told us that they wouldn't cover certain expenses which the law required them to pay. They were just awful.

    You did not make a mistake in hiring a public adjuster, but you may have made a mistake in hiring this particular public adjuster. If your state requires that public adjusters must be licensed, you might want to file a complaint with the licensing agency.

    The alternatives to hiring a public adjuster are to take what the insurance company gives you or retain an attorney, who gets 33% of the settlement while doing less work.

  • 4 years ago

    You have stated, that the insurance company played nicely from the beginning, by giving you a big help such us arranging a rental house, furniture and housewares and couple of dollars for incidentals, this is just but right because what they gave and offered you wasn't a favor but as being part of the plan features and policy coverage that you paid for. All I can suggest to you is to follow and comply all the necessary requirements needed by the insurance company and the adjuster. Just remember, the company needs to know every single details how your house was burnt and to be able to speed up the work just comply for it, no need to get extra lawyer. I also want to suggest you to monitor and scrutinize every single paper and documents before signing.If you have your policy contract with you read vividly the provisions of your existing contract, the provisions and the extent of your coverage it is all in the contract, or ask the assistance of your agent to explain everything to you.

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  • car253
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Contact your insurance company and tell them no contact was signed and to make all checks payble only to you. Your insurance company would have handled your claim for free, not exactly, that is what you pay them for.

    Second, call the Department of Insurance and file a complaint. Let them figure out if you owe this guy any money. The first link is to the Department of Insurance. Just click on your state. The second link is to the Department of Insurance in CA. File a complaint with them. It is free government help.

  • 9 years ago

    Why in the world did you hire a public adjuster? Your insurance company is there to represent you in these type cases. They're adjusters are going to give you exactly what you're entitled to. A public adjuster can't get you anything more than you would have been paid by your company and your company is regulated by the insurance commissioner's office.

    Before you do anything else, CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY...IMMEDIATELY! They will pay you directly for your losses and give you instructions as they pertain to your insurance contract. You are paying your insurance company to represent you.

    **Betsy, I'm sincerely curious as to whether the public adjuster was able to get the insurance company to pay differently than how your policy contract read. Did he? In over 21 years in the business I've just never heard of that.

    Source(s): Owner of an insurance and financial services agency. Husband is an adjuster. Together, we have over 42 years experience.
  • 4 years ago

    I can always tell when the person answering these questions works in the insurance industry. Very biased

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