Whether you're looking to hire a fire damage claims adjuster or you're curious about how they do the job, it can be helpful to understand their role in the process. Look at four things you can expect from the adjuster assigned to a fire damage claim.
They Act as an Independent Party
While an adjuster has a legal responsibility to represent the interests of whoever hired them, they are expected to remain independent of that party's self-interests. Suppose an insurance company hired an adjuster to visit the site of a fire at a restaurant. The adjuster has a responsibility to faithfully report what they've encountered, but it's not their job to get the insurance carrier the best deal. This applies even if they're directly in the employ of the insurance company. Note that many companies contract out these adjusters, especially if they're in large, rural regions with small populations.
If you're a private citizen filing a claim, it's worth noting that you do have the right to hire your own adjuster. Comparing and contrasting the two reports can be very informative, especially if you need help negotiating a settlement, appealing a rejection, or filing a lawsuit.
Validation of Claims
The primary goal of an adjuster is to assess the validity of a claim. They will gather as much of the available evidence as possible to verify that the claim is compensable within the terms of the contract. Presuming the claim checks out and there aren't any strong signs of fraud, the adjuster will move to assess the claim for settlement purposes.
When an insurance company appoints an adjuster, this includes binding power. That means they have the right to asses the monetary damages that can be claimed and to settle the claim. They also will inform you if a settlement offer has exceeded the limits of the insurance policy. If this is the case, you may need to retain counsel if you wish to sue for more money. If an adjuster proposes a settlement and you want to take it, the adjuster has the legal authority to enter into an agreement with you and bring the matter to a conclusion.
Addressing Smaller Questions
Many small questions emerge in the settlement of claims. For example, will you have the right to salvage items from the building where the fire occurred? An adjuster can give you an explanation of what the insurance company's position is regarding salvage. You can contact fire damage insurance claims adjusters through websites such as disasterrecoveryadjustersllc.com.