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When to Hire a Public Adjuster

A public insurance adjuster is a licensed professional that policyholders can hire to represent their best interests in a property insurance claim situation. Public insurance adjusters were created by their respective states to help level the playing field with the insurance carrier and provide the policyholder an expert advocate. The public adjuster helps manage the claim, make sure claim filing requirements are met and helps recover the amount a policyholder deserves under their insurance contract. Unlike the insurance adjuster sent out by the insurance company, the public adjuster works for you. Many policyholders will also hire a public adjuster before hiring an attorney to avoid litigation and retain more of their settlement.

But when should you hire a public adjuster and what criteria should you use when deciding if you need a public adjuster to represent you in a property claim? Read what this well known attorney has to say in this article: When should you engage a claims professional?

Hire the Adjuster at the Right Time

Like any situation, it’s always best to get professionals involved as early in the process as possible. Public adjusters are trained to review and understand property insurance policies. Without proper representation, there may be additional coverage you are entitled to that you may not be aware. See this report on getting the most out of your insurance claim as an example. But professional help does come with a cost and many policyholders make the decision to handle their claim themselves. Some are successful, but many become bogged down in the process and are never really sure they received the proper settlement amount. With insurance claims, a policyholder should beware they do not agree to or sign anything presented to them by their insurance carrier that they are not totally comfortable with.

Consider turning to a public insurance adjuster when one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • You don’t have the time to deal with the demands of the insurance company. People already have full lives. They work and have family commitments and may not want to deal with the stress of trying to get a claim processed and paid.
  • You don’t understand your policy. Insurance contracts can sometimes be confusing documents leaving individuals unsure of their coverage. Turning to your insurance agent for clarifications can sometimes help. But if you cannot understand your policy, consider asking a public adjuster like Tutwiler & Associates for help. Most reputable public adjusters will review your loss with no obligation.
  • You don’t have the expertise. Filing an insurance claim (especially with extensive and complicated damages) can be daunting. Get help if you are confused and avoid mistakes that might affect your settlement.
  • Your damage is extensive. Severe property damage creates a variety of complicated claims issues. Claims that you are due under your policy and certain types of damages can often be missed. Certain expenses may also be placed in the wrong claims categories. Identifying hidden structural damage, valuing your loss properly and accounting for possessions and valuables can impact the value of your claim.
  • The insurance carrier is offering a quick payoff. Insurance company research shows that the quicker a policyholder gets paid-off the happier they are. Unfortunately, what appears to be great customer service can be sometimes be an attempt to get rid of a claim and get you to settle for less money due to the stress and desire to “get it over with.” Our only advice here is to take your time and make sure you are protected. You should not be rushed or forced to sign anything until you understand the true impact a claim can have.
  • The insurance carrier appears to be delaying your claim. This often happens when major catastrophes create claims log-jams. In many cases we have seen insurance companies fly in adjusters from out of state who do not understand state law. In all states, insurance carriers are required to respond to you and process your claim in a specified time period. If you are getting the run-around, get help.
  • The insurance carriers settlement offer appears to be inadequate based on your coverage. Unfortunately, insurance company adjusters and carriers do not always act in the best interest of their policyholders. They are in business to turn a profit and may value damages to your property differently than you. Or they may determine that you are not covered for some of the damage. Sometimes offers will not even approach the value of restoring the damaged property. This is where an expert who uses the same estimating software as the insurance carrier and understands insurance policy language can help.
  • Your insurance claims adjuster is discouraging you from hiring a public insurance adjuster. Insurance claims representatives that are afraid to deal with a licensed professional may be a red flag. You should be the only one determining if hiring your own public adjuster makes sense and is worth the cost.

Attorney or Public Adjuster

We see some policyholders get confused about whether they should hire an attorney or public adjuster to handle their claim. Both have a valuable advocacy role in the claims process. To get value from both we would suggest hiring a public adjuster on the front end to manage your claim. Only if you are denied or legal issues arise that the public adjuster cannot handle would we incur the extra expense and time to hire an attorney. Read what this expert says about role of each professional.


Most people that use an experienced public insurance such as Tutwiler & Associates will tell you the time saved, stress removed and peace of mind provided when working with an experienced public adjuster is well worth the fee.

FAQs About When to Hire a Public Adjuster

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Yes, as long as you did not sign a full and final release. Some insurance company’s may require you to sign a proof of loss and in some case a partial proof of loss in order to write you a check for your loss. You should also be mindful of the statue of limitations that may apply to an insurance claim. We have found over the years that if you have a legitimate basis for additional claim damages and if documented through a professional public adjuster’s work product, insurance companies often will sit down with us and make a good faith attempt to try and resolve any outstanding differences.

Give us a call or e-mail us. We will start the process which will include a no obligation meeting with you at the loss site to review your unique situation and the issues that are involved. Each loss is different and requires a hands-on approach in order to develop a plan for your recovery.

If you are experiencing any of the following you might consider getting a professional involved.

  • You don’t fee like your carrier is offering you a fair settlement or is undervaluing. items. The insurance company may want to see if you will accept a low ball offer
  • Your insurance company is non-responsive and dragging out your claim.
  • Your insurance company is blaming the damage on pre-existing conditions or using a technicality within the insurance policy to say your loss is not covered.
  • You are getting the run around which often occurs in large catastrophic (CAT Losses) events such as hurricanes , large scale flooding and in community wide effected fire losses. Insurance companies are often overwhelmed and as these claims drag out we see multiple adjusters involved which often means the process has to start over from the beginning with each new adjuster.
  • You do not understand the terms being used to explain the process. Knowing what these terms mean such as actual cash value, replacement cost , depreciation, etc can put you at a big disadvantage .
  • Receiving a request/demand for a proof of loss can be a big red flag. It means that you now have the burden of coming up and documenting the value of your loss that must be filled in on the proof of loss form.
  • Make sure you are dealing with a person from the insurance company that has the authority to make decisions on your claim. Ask them if they have adequate financial authority for the amounts of money that are due you.

Public adjusters are usually the first line of defense when an insurance dispute arises. First, a claim is going to need to be scoped and valued. Typically an attorney will hire us to do that work if someone goes directly to them. Some statistics we’ve seen say that less that 2% of claims need the assistance of an attorney. So our advice is to save your money and let us try and mediate the claim first. If the loss needs legal representation, we are more than happy to refer you to any number of reputable attorneys who are specialists in first party property insurance claims. Legally, public adjusters are not allowed to accept any type of referral fee from an attorney so this is done as a courtesy and without any conflict of interest.

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Local Office

Charles R. Tutwiler & Associates Inc.
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters & Loss Consultants
Offices: Tampa, Orlando, Hollywood, Palm City, Florida; Dallas, TX; Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Office
4300 W. Cypress St.
Suite 780
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813.287.8090
Toll Free: 800.321.4488

Licensed in Florida # W840088 &
Texas #1399706 plus 16 other states
and the Virgin Islands