What Are the Restrictions on How Much Money a Public Insurance Adjuster Can Charge?

Public adjusters are prohibited from charging more than 20 percent of the insurance claim payment to claims that are not based on a declared emergency and 10 percent of the insurance claim payment to claims based on a declared emergency for claims filed during the first year after the emergency was declared. In many states, laws prohibit public appraisers from accepting any payment until a claim is resolved. This means policyholders like you enjoy an extra layer of protection. It means that you don't have to pay your public appraiser until you decide to accept the final offer from your insurance company. It means that you have the power to accept or deny the final claim.

If you're not happy with your insurance company's final offer, you can ask your public appraiser to keep pushing for a higher settlement. Public adjusters usually get paid when you accept your insurance company's final offer. In fact, in most cases, this is the only time the public appraiser gets paid. Usually, you don't pay a penny to your public appraiser until you receive the final payment from your insurance company. A public assessor can provide you with guidance on how to initially handle your claim to avoid dispute resolution disputes.

Specifically, the Office of Programmatic Policy Analysis (OPPAGA) found that Citizens policyholders represented by public assessors generated 747% higher payments on disaster claims and 574% higher on claims not related to disasters. So, if you decide to fire a public appraiser who worked on your claim before the down payment runs out, you can lose the rest. In any case, while most public appraisers are honest and competent in their work, it's still essential to be aware of potential scams. There are other rate structures and situations where a public appraiser may charge a pre-established fee or an hourly rate, as noted above, but usually the public appraiser is only paid once a final agreement has been reached. The OPAGGA study also fueled the idea that state legislators, influenced by the insurance lobby, would limit the role of public assessors in helping policyholders.

Thanks to this fee structure, your public appraiser will have additional motivation to request higher compensation. Under the new law enacted in SB1770, public adjusters can charge up to 10% for any initial claim that occurs during the first year and up to 20% for claims filed in subsequent years. While most public appraisers are honest and competent in their work, it's still very important to be vigilant against potential scams. Most public appraisers charge between 5 and 15%, a figure that may decrease if the amount of money paid to the plaintiff increases. You can also call a qualified lawyer, file a complaint with your insurance agent or the Insurance Consumer Ombudsman, and even request mediation required by the state. However, if a public appraiser advertises a fixed rate, make sure you understand what that fee will and will not cover.

If any of that is true, then it is advisable to hire the services of a professional public appraiser. If you don't have time to work through the slow payment process or think that your insurance company has offered you less than what you are owed, then it is recommended that you hire the paid services of a professional public appraiser. This waste of time, which promoted Citizen Adjusters' shrewdness, made it unprofitable for public appraisers to invest their time and promoted more expensive litigation.