What Is A Public Adjuster In Florida, And How Are They Involved With Your Property Damage Claim?
Chances are you’ve heard about public adjusters but were not sure what they do or how they are involved with an insurance claim. That is, until they are knocking on your door as part of your insurance claim. You wouldn’t be alone in wanting to know more about the process.
A public insurance adjuster in Florida is a licensed and bonded insurance professional that will help policyholders following an insured loss. The more complicated an insurance claim is, the more valuable their assistance may become. Florida Statute Sec. 626.854 defines public adjusters as those who – in exchange for payment – assist insured homeowners in “negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage covered by an insurance contract.”
Public adjusters must be licensed by the Florida Department of Financial Services and adhere to a strict code of ethics. The public adjusters are independent and do not work for or represent your insurance company. Their responsibility is to investigate as many aspects of your claim as possible and present that information to the insurance company. In exchange, they normally require a fee that is paid as a portion or your final claim settlement. (Often, they will be listed as an additional payee when claim checks are issued.) The maximum public adjuster fee in Florida is 20% of your overall claim.
Florida Public adjusters must follow particular rules and their fees are negotiable before any contract is signed. They can only solicit business during certain hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday) and must carry a photo license. They are also forbidden from encouraging homeowners to overstate their claims, or make deceptive or misleading statements to property owners.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Public Adjuster
Hiring a public adjuster may be useful in some cases because they have knowledge, resources, and familiarity with Florida insurance laws that the average homeowner does not. Because this is what they do for a living, they can estimate the scope and amount of your damage fairly and present that to your insurer. Compared with an adjuster hired by the insurance company, you stand a better chance of getting a fair settlement with the public adjuster.
However, public adjusters can be expensive, and their fees (generally 10-20% of you claim) may not always be worth it for you.
Also, while a public adjuster knows Florida’s statutes regarding property insurance claims, they don’t practice law and have no experience confronting insurance companies when a legal dispute arises and must be taken to court. That is where a Florida property damage insurance attorney can more effectively advance your claim and help you get the payout you deserve.
Our Daytona, Florida Property Damage Insurance Attorneys Know the Law and Will Fight for Your Rights
Whether you have hired a public adjuster or not, you may have questions or issues that go beyond what an insurance adjuster can assist with. Sometimes these questions may include whether you should sue your insurance company in court, or raise an important legal issue. At Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., we have years of experience in dealing with a wide variety of property damage issues. We also know how to deal directly with insurance companies to get the best possible result for you. Call our Daytona law offices at 386-252-5170 or contact our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online to request a consultation today.