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You may be wondering what is the difference between a public adjuster and an attorney or can you have both?

 

After your home or business has sustained damage from either a storm, fire, termites, etc., you are going to want to go to your insurance company to file a claim. At that point, your insurance company is going to send out either an independently hired adjuster acting on their behalf, or one of their staff adjusters to inspect your home. The adjuster is going to inspect the damage and make an estimate based on the damage that they observe. This estimate is then forwarded to the insurance company who will make a coverage determination. The insurance company is either going to:

  • pay the amount that they feel is owed minus your deductable

OR

  • deny your claim outright

 

You may find yourself in a situation where you feel the claim is undervalued. At this point, you are going to decide if you are going to hire an attorney or a public adjuster.

 

Public Adjusters

Much like insurance companies hire an adjuster to assess the damage in your home, you have the ability to hire an adjuster on your behalf to evaluate the claim.

These public adjusters will come to your home and make their own estimate based on the damage that they observe. This is helpful in going to be valuable in going to the insurance company to defend why you think your claim is worth more.

*Before signing any paperwork with a public adjuster, make sure you are covering all your bases.

 

Attorneys

At what point should you hire an attorney?

Typically, public adjusters have the ability to negotiate the terms on your behalf however, some states don’t allow this. In these cases, most public adjusters can do is advise you on how to proceed.

You may want to consider hiring an attorney from the very start. Attorneys, like the attorneys at Busciglio Sheridan Schoeb commonly work with public adjusters and use them as expert witnesses later on, which makes the decision on hiring a public adjuster vs. an attorney much easier.

The benefit of hiring an attorney is the fact that an attorney will be able to structure the claim from the start in the way that they want to see the claim end.

For example, attorneys typically look at a case from a litigation standpoint. They pay attention to the legal issues that may arise later whereas public adjusters may just be looking at the evaluation of the case.

Even though public adjusters and attorneys are looking at the case from 2 different angles, that doesn’t mean you can’t have both.

How are public adjusters paid?

This varies by the person but oftentimes public adjusters take a case on contingency bases and take a percentage of the settlement at the end OR they can charge an hourly fee.

How are attorneys paid?

If you hire an attorney, many times these attorneys have trusted public adjusters that will come out to the property to make their estimates, then the attorney is the one negotiating with the insurance company on the client’s behalf.

Some people have a misconception that a client will have to pay a large retainer amount, however, in these situations, that is not the case. Attorneys typically take the case on contingency bases which means the client pays nothing upfront and nothing is paid unless they recover for you.

 

Regardless of what stage you are at in the insurance claims process, feel free to give Marie Schoeb a call directly at (813) 225-2695 so she can evaluate your case and discuss next steps.

It’s summertime in Tampa Bay which means thunderstorms and hurricanes are bound to strike. Heavy winds, water damage, debris can all cause damage to your home or business and when it strikes, it can be devastating. Make sure you are prepared and ready to take action in the event of a damaging storm. Here are 7 steps you should take if your home or business has been affected:

 

1. Immediately report the claim to your insurance company

 

It is important to report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance companies use email or have an online portal where you can submit your claim, making it easy to track and manage all communications with the insurance company. If online options are not available, review your policy documents or the company’s website for a phone number to start the claims process.

 

2. Make a list of all damages and take photos and/or videos of the existing damage

 

You want to make sure you document everything. It is important to make a list of all damaged property, including as much information as possible, such as types of floors, carpeting, or brand of furniture for all of the damaged items. Document any and all damages to your property, using photos and/ or videos to be taken throughout stages of the repair. The information stored will be valuable later in the claims process so… the more information you can document, the better. 

 

3. Protect your property from further damage

 

Do your best to protect your property from further damage. For example, if your roof is leaking, do your best to protect your property from further damage by putting a plastic tarp over the leak, use buckets, and dry the floors as much as possible.

 

4. Save all documents exchanged between you and your insurance company

 

Since you have documented all photos and videos of the damages, make sure you also keep track of all letters, emails, and claim numbers you would have received from your insurance company. Keeping a record of all communications including the date, time, and the person you spoke with, will help protect you and claims throughout the process.

 

5. Field inspection

 

After the claim is made, you will go through field inspection. This includes communications with the field adjuster that will visit your home on behalf of the insurance company. Make sure you keep a record of the damaged areas you pointed out to him/ her as well as a summary of what was discussed regarding the damages.

 

6. Save all receipts and/or estimates related to the damage and/or repairs

 

It is important to save all receipts from repairs or equipment used during the repairs. Any estimates or quotes that you receive should be saved and documented. Make sure you are careful before signing any paperwork with the company performing or providing an estimate for the repairs. Many companies often have an assignment of benefits that allows the company estimating the repairs, to collect directly from your insurance company. This could significantly affect your rights under your policy. You will want to have a lawyer review these documents before signing any paperwork with these repair companies.

 

7. Contact Busciglio & Sheridan Law Group

 

We understand that dealing with hurricane damage can be overwhelming. Unfortunately for the home or business owner, insurance companies have adjusters whose jobs are to save their own money, oftentimes leaving your home or business at a severe disadvantage by getting your claim improperly denied, or significantly underpaid. In many cases, with Busciglio & Sheridan, our fee can be paid directly from the insurance company in addition to the settlement we get for your claim. Contact us if your home or business has sustained damage and we will walk you through the process, take on the insurance company, and fight for the results you deserve.

 

Visit your YouTube channel to listen to Marie Schoeb share these 7 steps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B417gq-Oia4&t=3s