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Get Your Claim Paid: A Step Before Suing

Your first call doesn't have to be to a lawyer.

Public adjusters take over the management of insurance claims in the case of major property losses from fire or natural disaster. Don't waste your time here if your claims are less than $10,000.

A public adjuster's job can range from doing an inventory of damaged clothes in your closet to evaluating a bid for construction work. It also includes matching the special features of your loss to the terms of your insurance policy to get you the best settlement possible. Public adjusters are paid on a sliding percentage fee that typically starts at about 10 percent and decreases as claims increase. While the fee is often quite large, it needs to be balanced against the probability that your adjuster will actually increase the size of your settlement.

At a major home fire, public adjusters may arrive before the fire trucks depart. Ignore the hard sell.

In most states, public adjusters must be licensed by the state. In addition, the national association has its own system of accreditation.

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