What Is a Home Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjusterís
job is to learn about your loss, determine whether your policy
covers the loss, and calculate how much your insurer should pay
you for your claim.
Article Courtesy of CREDIBLE
By Amy Fontinelle
September 21, 2022
A home insurance adjuster is the professional youíll
work with if you file a claim under your homeowners policy. After you
submit your claim online, by phone, or through your agent, your
insurance carrier will assign an adjuster to your case. This person will
be your contact for your claim.
What to expect from a home insurance claims adjuster
A home insurance claim adjusterís job is to assess your property damage,
learn more about your loss, and determine whether your homeowners
insurance policy covers the loss. Theyíll also calculate the amount your
insurer should reimburse you for your claim.
Your insurance adjuster will take the following steps when evaluating
Closely inspect damage. Once you file your claim,
the insurance carrier will schedule an adjuster to visit your home
and assess the damage. Itís a good idea to prepare for this visit by
noting all the damage you want to point out to them. The adjuster
may also be looking for reasons to reduce or deny your claim.
Review the police report. Homeowners insurance
claims donít always involve police reports, but if your cause of
loss was theft, vandalism, or malicious mischief, this step will
apply. The police report can help validate and provide more details
about your claim.
Review additional evidence. For example, if you
have a home inventory, photos, videos, or receipts showing the
personal possessions you lost and their value, the adjuster will
Write a report. After reviewing all the
information related to your claim, the adjuster will produce a
report itemizing the damage to your home and the cost to make you
How to deal with an adjuster
The adjuster you work with may be a staff adjuster who works only for
your insurance carrier or an independent adjuster who works for several
insurance providers. Either way, they donít represent you.
Tip: You can also hire a public adjuster to help
settle your claim. Public adjusters charge a fee ó up to 15% of the
settlement amount, according to the Insurance Information Institute ó
but they donít work for an insurance carrier. This means theyíre more
likely to look after your best interests.
Though your insurance contract and state law do require adjusters to
treat you fairly, their incentive is to settle your claim quickly and
minimize the insurerís costs. Knowing whatís covered and whatís not
under your policy can help you navigate the process. So can knowing your
rights and whatís considered an unfair claims practice.
Recognize unfair claims practices
Unfair claims practices committed by insurers include the following:
Lying to you about your coverage
Not communicating with you promptly about your
Not investigating or settling your claim promptly
Not acting in good faith to fairly settle your
Offering an unreasonably low settlement
Not providing a reasonable and accurate
explanation for a claim denial
Become familiar with some of these key aspects of
Additional living expenses: Your policy
may reimburse you for costs to live somewhere else while your home
is being repaired. Costs your policy typically covers include hotel
stays, reasonable food expenses, and storage.
Replacement cost coverage: If you have
personal property damage, you should know whether your policy will
reimburse you for the cost to buy each item new (replacement cost
coverage) or only for the amount it was worth immediately before the
loss (actual cash value coverage).
Building upgrade coverage: Building codes
can become stricter over time, making rebuilding more expensive.
Youíll want to know if your policy covers these increased costs.
Know your options
If you arenít happy with the adjusterís assessment of
your loss, you have several options:
Negotiate your claim yourself. If your
claim isnít large or complex, or if the insurance providerís
settlement offer isnít far off from what you want, present evidence
to the adjuster ó such as damage they missed or a contractorís
repair estimate ó explaining why the payment should be higher.
Speak with a claims manager. If you canít
get anywhere with your adjuster, you can escalate your concerns to
the insurance providerís claims manager.
Contact your stateís insurance department.
They may be able to help you, and if nothing else, you can file a
Hire a public adjuster. This professional
will represent you and provide a second opinion after doing their
own assessment of the damage.
Try an appraisal or arbitration. These are
processes that can help you reach an agreement with your insurer
without going to court.
Hire an attorney. If nothing else works,
you can speak with an attorney for legal advice. Some lawyers
provide free consultations to see if you have a case. Youíll pay
them a percentage of the settlement if they win your case.
What happens after?
After the adjuster submits their final report, the insurance providerís
claims examiner will review it and approve it. The settlement amount
should be based on the cost to rebuild, repair, and replace your damaged
It wonít be higher than your policy limit, and itíll be reduced by the
amount of your deductible. You can find these amounts on your policyís
If your carrier offers direct deposit and you donít have a mortgage, you
can expect to receive your claim payment in your bank account within
days of the examiner approving the claim.
You may receive multiple claim payments, especially for a large claim:
an emergency advance followed by multiple payments for structural
repairs, additional living expenses, and personal property. It may take
18 to 24 months to complete the process if you have to completely
rebuild your home.
However, if you have a mortgage, the process can take longer. Your
insurer will send you a check for the damage, which youíll then have to
send to your mortgage servicer. Itíll endorse the check, then send it
back to you if the claim amount is below a certain threshold. For larger
claims, your servicer may put the money in an escrow account and
disburse it as repairs are made.
Finally, be prepared for a possible rate increase or policy nonrenewal.
When your policy period ends, your insurer may charge a higher rate to
renew your policy. In some cases, it may even decide not to renew your
policy, which means youíll need to compare insurance quotes with