More Information on Public Adjusters in Florida
In our previous post, we highlighted red flags to watch for when shopping for a public adjuster. Fortunately, Florida law provides ample protections to consumers who use public adjusters, and in this post we want to highlight some of those protections.
If you have an insurance dispute, please contact Bundza & Rodriguez today. Our hurricane insurance claim attorneys are here to help you.
Florida’s regulations give insureds many rights with respect to contracts, which must contain certain information and be in writing. For example:
- The contract must contain an anti-fraud statement.
- The contract should contain the full name of the adjuster’s firm, along with business address, license number, and other information.
- The contract should require the signature of all named insureds.
These requirements helpfully prevent fraud. For example, many scammers try to conceal their business address and lack a business license, so avoid hiring someone whose contracts lack that information.
Florida regulations also give insureds many important cancellation rights. For example, you typically get 3 business days after execution to cancel. If there is a state of emergency, then you have 5 business days from the date of your loss. The contract should also state this right to cancellation and explain the proper notice, such as sending a cancellation in writing through certified mail, return receipt requested.
Public Adjuster Fees
Fees are closely regulated to protect the public. For example, regulations prohibit the charging of any fee unless a written contract was executed before the claim is paid.
There is also a statutory cap that applies to residential properties and condominium unit owner policies:
- If there is no declared emergency, then the cap is 20% of the insurance claim payment.
- If there is a declared emergency, then the cap is 10% for any claim made within 1 year of the emergency.
These caps protect against price gouging, especially in an emergency. No fee can be based on any money paid to the insured before the contract with the public adjuster is signed.
To help with a claim, the adjuster must provide a written estimate of the loss to the insured. They should also keep this written estimate on file for 5 years.
As mentioned in our last post, solicitation is also limited to Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. If an adjuster is trying to reach you outside these hours, then they have violated the regulations.
Another key provision limits the adjusters ability to obtain interest in salvaged property. This prohibition protects consumers, because an unscrupulous adjuster might dishonestly represent that your property is a total loss, only to purchase it on the side for less than it is worth.
Get the Legal Help You Need
Instead of working with a public adjuster, homeowners should consider hiring a property damage attorney. Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. has helped many insureds in disputes and appeals with their insurance company. Our Daytona Beach property damage lawyers are free to discuss your legal issues if you call 386-252-5170. Consultations are free.