Frequently Asked Questions
Confused about how insurance claims work? Or would you like to know more about public adjusters? Keep reading to discover the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions that we get.
Why is it important to hire a public adjusting firm?
After incurring a loss, re-establishing normalcy can be time-consuming. Claim preparation that complies with your policy requirements is a full-time job, even for experienced professionals. Compass Adjusting experts build a claim package that works to fulfill the burden obligation of your policy provisions. Public adjusters fully document a policyholder’s claim, reliving them of the cumbersome and time-consuming process of negotiating and dealing with the insurance companies. The policyholder can then focus their time recapturing normalcy for both their business and personal lives.
How do public adjusters help?
Public adjusters work exclusively for the policyholder. When property loss occurs, the first step is to review the policy and establish what the contract terms cover and what the limitations and exclusions are. The second step is to submit a claim and to provide proof of damages. This process can be overwhelming. Compass Adjusters go in-depth to review your policy and discover how to hold insurance providers accountable for the coverage they provide. Compass Adjusters prepare a comprehensive and thorough claim package that ensures you a fair and equitable settlement.
When should I hire a public adjusting firm?
Immediately. It is common for individuals to compromise their position when submitting a claim and waiting to hire Compass Adjusters. If retained after a commitment to a partial settlement, there is irreparable harm created for your equitable return. Initially bringing on experts from Compass Adjusters will have a sizable impact on the equitable outcome for your claim.
What public adjusting firm should I hire?
A public adjuster should have expertise and experience in your type of claim and should employ its own staff of appraisers, adjusters, engineers, and estimators. The public adjuster should also be steeped in professionalism and have integrity in business.
What if I try to adjust the claim myself?
Claims are not always straightforward and rely on differences of opinion. Usually, there are disagreements when discussing what is covered under your policy and what is omitted. Common topics that arise are the extent of damages, obligatory restorations, product depreciation and a market pricing that changes frequently. When adjusting the claim yourself, proving a fair and equitable return falls on you, the policyholder.
Should I ask my insurance agent to adjust the loss?
Insurance agents are trained for the purpose of sales and to sell an insurance policy. They are not trained to adjust or prepare claims, which takes specialized knowledge. Furthermore, insurance agents do not necessarily have an interest in assuring that the policyholder receives a comprehensive return for all damages. And finally, if the insurance agent is not individualized to the policyholder, they may be unfamiliar with the in-depth nuisances of an individualized policy. When claims are filed, insurance companies will even rely on their own hired adjusters and not the agents.
What information do I need to completely prove my claim?
When something unfortunate happens to your property, filing a claim can be overwhelming. This can be especially true when trying to understand what documentation you need to submit. The following documentation will assist a public adjuster to indemnify property owners fully and fairly. The more from this list you have, the easier it will be for Compass Adjusters to ensure your policy is working for you.
- A detailed cost estimate to replace the unit and/or repair damages to the building
- Detailed account of all inventory. This can include furniture, technology, fixtures, equipment, and stock
- Co-insurance requirements for any insurable value appraisal.
- Identification and complete evaluation of insurable interest that relate to the improvements and corrections
- Physical depreciation timeline for the entire property
- Salvage disposal determination
- An analysis of all income loss to business interruption
How are public adjusters paid?
A percentage from the settlement is how Compass Adjusters are paid. Past clients have found that our services are absorbed by a settlement that is financially greater due to the result of Compass Adjusters’ involvement. The fees are a small percentage in relation to a much larger claim settlement you would receive after hiring a public adjuster. The fee should be seen as an initial investment that has substantial returns. Besides a larger settlement, policyholders obtain peace of mind, more time to focus on their business and personal life, and less frustration and anxiety during the entire process.
Should I Wait for a Claim Offer From My Insurance Company?
After suffering a loss, it is typical for policyholders to rely on their insurance company to offer them a fair settlement before contacting an expert to review the claim. Doing so is the equivalent of being in court and hiring a lawyer after the judge has sentenced you.
Insurance companies employ their own experts to ultimately represent their own interests. It is not to your advantage to wait for an insurance company to decide what an equitable and fair return should be. The following reasons outline why:
- An adjuster hired by your insurance company will make an offer only after obtaining the estimates and supporting information. The adjuster will determine the value of your claim only after these are submitted. The insurance company adjuster cannot know the amount of your claim until the loss is adjusted. Each policy requires you to fully prove your loss to the insurance company in order to receive a settlement. Many people do not realize that you only have one opportunity to submit and prove your claim. It is critical and for your benefit that your claim is thorough and accurate, while also complying with your policy conditions. The foundation for all claim negotiations is based on what you submit.
- Preparing your claim and gathering all necessary documentation to prove your loss will be at the expense of your time and money. Time spent on claim preparation could be damaging for your business and personal life. Only after all the information is properly prepared, will it be submitted an adjuster. The insurance company’s adjuster will then review and audit all the information you present, make adjustments, and eventually make a settlement offer. From the time of loss to the initial offer, several weeks or months can go by. The first offer is dependent upon the circumstances of the claim and the details of your policy.
- After receiving an offer, you then decide to accept or reject said offer. Never accept an offer that “sounds fair.” Never guess the amount of the loss sustained. Always provide substantiating documentation, otherwise you are left vulnerable to settling the claim for an amount considerably less than to one that you are entitled to.
- To reject the insurance company’s offer, you must have solid evidence that proves that the insurance company’s offer is incorrect. The insurance company’s offer is based on a subjective review of the claim. This includes estimation from hired experts such as accountants, architects, engineers, consultants, and etc. It is your mission to prove the adjuster and all the hired experts wrong by submitting enough and accurate supporting evidence that will both overturn their decision and put the claim back on the negotiating table. Typically, this is not easy and requires the policyholder to divert a considerable amount of time and resources to this critical research.
- Weeks or months will go by after your claim. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to accurately prove and represent the encompassing physical loss. Evidence of the damage is typically altered over time and an attempt must be made to recreate and re-establish evidence for your claim. This proves to be difficult as time passes and some information may not still be available. Furthermore, the postponement of a fully functioning business is costly for you and there is lost interest on your insurance proceeds. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is to re-establish your property or business. This can be a burden on you and your family.
- Highly specialized adjusters represent the interests of their employer, the insurance companies. As mentioned before, representing yourself during a claim is the equivalent of representing yourself without a lawyer. The responsibility to prepare, present, and negotiate your claim will be considerable time, expense, and effort when attempting to fairly recover your money from those who have extensive experience in adjusting insurance claims.
- The larger the claim, the longer it will take to settle. Larger claims do not settle on first offers. Initial offers should lead to negotiation. After receiving an offer, you need to ask yourself if you are in a position to properly and exhaustively analyze the equity of an offer. A few items to consider when negotiating a settlement for a claim are: Policy exclusions, co-insurance, repairable versus total loss, due diligence and dispatch, and depreciation. Like in a court of law, what is said during negotiations is critical. Once negotiations begin, what is said, not said, and all measures of evidence could jeopardize your position if not presented tactfully and thoughtfully.
- It is commonly known that the conclusions of appraisals vary and depend on many different factors. Whether it is for property claims or business interruption claims, many different conclusions and amounts are produced based on the number of experts involved; experts such as, adjusters, architects, accountants, engineers, contractors, etc. Going up against an insurance company without fair representation from your own adjuster can put you at a disadvantage. It is ultimately up to you to protect your financial interests.
Use your own experts to prove your claim. Provide all necessary documentation and dollar amount to Compass Adjusters. This information will be used in negotiations.
Just as a lawyer reviews a clients’ case, licensed professionals document your claim. All information is critically reviewed before submitting anything to the insurance company. Our experts represent you and will handle any and all questions from the insurance company. The amount determined for your claim is arrived in a logical and methodical process. The final amount is the result of extensive analysis.
Insurance companies will find it considerably more difficult to disagree with your claim, because your claim will be represented by Compass Adjusters and will have been prepared thoroughly and properly.
Compass Adjusters assume all burden and responsibility for your claim adjustment and the entire process. This alleviates a large amount of stress and frustration when dealing with the insurance company. It also allows time and energy to be wholly devoted your entire business operation. After adjusting thousands of claims, Compass Adjusters have specialized foresight to handle typical problem areas before they arise. Our ability to avoid these problems is due to our extensive experience in the field and will ultimately produce both a larger and speedier settlement than would otherwise be possible.
When faced with an unfortunate situation involving substantial sums of money, while also determining all damages under a legal contract, be assured that insurance companies will put their interests first. It is only fair you do the same. Insurance companies will hire the best experts available. It would be risky if you did not do the same.
Should a General Contractor Prepare My Insurance Claim Adjustment?
After suffering property loss, many consider hiring a general contractor to estimate the damage. The following outlines why this is not recommended:
* An adjuster, not a contractor, will be hired by the insurance company to represent its interests. Contractors do not have training adjusting claims and will likely not understand or be familiar with the claim adjustment process. They have little to no experience settling claims. A Contractors’ profession fulfills the duty of trade workmanship, not adjusting. If you were in need of a lawyer to represent you, hiring a paralegal would not be accurate.
It is necessary to have complete and thorough knowledge of the insurance policy before preparing an estimate on a loss to be adjusted. Policy conditions are not the language of contractors. They are not equipped or trained to provide the best claim presentation for an insurance contract.
* Contractors will estimate the costs of a building today. However, this will be not in your best interest because your claim represents the cost to repair or replace the exact building you had before your loss.
The cost of an insurance claim is based on replacing your loss with the quality at today’s labor and material costs. A general contractor will have no knowledge of whether the property can be restored with the exact material and construction techniques used from the original building in today’s market.
* Contractors are not familiar with the theories and methods of applying depreciation. A policy is either an actual cash value policy or a replacement cost. For both instances, deducting depreciation from the total repair or replacement value is necessary in order to determine an actual cash value.
* Contractors do not know your policy. They are wholly unfamiliar with what is insured or excluded under your policy.
* In order to support the extent of loss you are claiming, it is extremely important that a claim be as detailed as possible. Contractors rarely provide detailed accounts. If a claim does not provide thorough documentation, the insurance company will request further estimates, which will only serve to delay, complicate, and confuse the issue.
* While insurance company adjusters deal in unit costs, most contractors work with segregated labor and material costs. If the adjuster accepts this approach, the settlement process is usually delayed. It is not common for a contractor to efficiently convert and comply their pricing and estimating approach to the unit cost method.
Oftentimes, soft costs such as, general conditions, contingencies, profit, overhead, supervision, architectural fees, etc. are part of a general contractor’s overall estimate. However, there is a lack of intricacy the contractor has when determining an accurate amount to for the claim. This also influences the effectiveness of negotiating values that are not directly tied to these soft costs and are often overlooked or just not dealt with at all.
* Identifying and separating what should be included in your claim versus what should be in a tenants claim is necessary and vitally important. Contractors do not have the specialized training to extensively review the insurance policies and leases that affect all parties involved.
* Contractors have no background preparing a claim that must be presented and sold to the insurance company’s adjuster. Furthermore, a claim requires effective negotiating techniques that are based on thorough comprehension of the policy of insurance, the claims adjustment process, and the appraisal of loss.