Working with a Claims Adjuster

Once you have notified your insurance company of your loss, you will meet with a claims or field adjuster.

The adjuster’s job is to establish the extent of the loss and to provide the insurance company with enough information for them to determine the amount of your recovery. These services are included in the cost of your insurance policy.

You can also hire an independent/public adjuster or 'claims consultant'. This person or company works as an intermediary between you and your insurance company. The independent adjuster will negotiate with the insurance company to try to get a maximum amount for your claim.

Normally, the independent adjuster may take a percentage or charge a fee for their service. See Public (Independent) Adjusters below to learn more.

The following information may be helpful for your meeting with the adjuster. Have tips you'd like to share with others? E-mail us.

About the Claims Adjuster

A claims adjuster will:

  1. Investigate the circumstances of a loss
  2. Discuss it with you
  3. Provide an assessment of the damage amount to the insurance company

A claims adjuster may also:

  1. Help you arrange repairs for your damaged property
  2. If there's a liability claim, they will try to find out who's responsible.

Before You Meet the Adjuster

  1. Before meeting with the claims adjuster, review your policy to learn the type and extent of coverage that you have.
  2. Make a list of questions to ask.
    • Remember you are conducting serious negotiations with someone who is working for your insurance company, not you. Do not minimize the extent of your loss or damage.

Public (Independent) Adjusters

Your insurance company provides an adjuster at no charge to you. You also may be contacted by adjusters who have no relationship with your insurance company and who charge a fee for their services. These are known as public adjusters. You may use a public adjuster to help you in settling your claim. They will work for you, not your insurance company.

  1. If you want an independent opinion or are having problems collecting money on your loss, you can hire an independent adjuster.
  2. For a fee (usually 5 to 15% of the amount you recover), the independent adjuster will deal with the company's adjuster, handle your inventory, and obtain estimates for repair on your property.

    WHN TIP: Additional Fees

    An independent adjuster's fee isn't covered by your insurance policy. Sometimes after a disaster, the percentage that public adjusters may charge is set by the insurance department. However, use your best judgment and beware of independent adjusters who get “kickbacks” or “referral fees” that influence their recommendations.

    WHN TIP: Check Qualifications

    If you decide to use a public adjuster, first check his or her qualifications by calling your state insurance department. Click here to link to your state's insurance department Web site. Most sites offer a 'license lookup' tool.

  3. Ask your agent, a lawyer or friends and associates for the name of a professional adjuster they can recommend.
  4. Avoid individuals who go from door to door after a major disaster unless you are sure they are qualified.

Additional Information

  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Read consumer publications, alerts, company and general insurance information. Click here for a link to insurance departments by state. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the organization of insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the four U.S. territories.
  • National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters
    NAPIA is the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Public Adjusters are experts on property loss adjustment who are retained by policy holders to assist in preparing, filing and adjusting insurance claims. NAPIA members across the United States have joined together for the purpose of professional education, certification, and promotion of a code of professional conduct.