Who Can You Work with for Help with an Insurance Claim?

Home Stager with Caprice Weston's Home Staging

Insurance claims are the last thing anyone wants to deal with. First of all, it means that you’ve suffered some kind of loss. When that loss is damage to your home due to a fire, flood, or natural disaster, your entire life has been turned upside-down. Handling the paperwork and responsibility of an insurance claim is a lot to take on while you’re dealing with the emotional burdens of grieving for your home and keeping your family safe and comfortable. Despite the heavy emotional load, you need to focus on the claim because it needs to be accurate and complete to get fair compensation.


There are two types of professionals who can help you with your claim: public adjusters and insurance lawyers. Claims adjusters and insurance lawyers help you recover after a house fire by working with you on your insurance claim.


What Do Public Claims Adjusters Do?


You’re not an expert in insurance claims. The language is unfamiliar, and you may not fully understand what you’re entitled to claim or receive. Meanwhile, the claims adjuster hired by your insurer knows the ins and outs of the process well, and they’re in charge of examining your policy and your claim to assesses the loss. While they may understand the process better than you, they don’t know all the details of your home and its contents the way you do. You’re both holding part of the information, but they’re holding the funds, which might put you at a disadvantage. That’s why you need an expert who listens to you, fills in the information you don’t have or understand, and represents your interests in negotiations. A public adjuster or insurance lawyer will:


  • Review the details of the insurer’s offer, including the Scope of Work for structural repairs and the adjuster’s appraisal of your personal contents.
  • Negotiate with the insurance company by pointing out where they have undervalued belongings or the cost of repairs.
  • Explain to you the details of your insurance policy.


If you’re feeling stressed out about the prospect of filing your insurance claim, or you feel like your insurance company has given you an inaccurate settlement calculation, a public claims adjuster can help you make sense of what’s in front of you.


Should You Work with an Insurance Lawyer?


An insurance lawyer does all of the things that a public insurance claims adjuster can do, and they bring expertise in insurance law to the table. An insurance lawyer is also able to help you if you need to dispute your claim through legal channels, or if you have a claim above and beyond the insurance company. For example, if your fire was started by a contractor or neighbour, you might also have a claim against that liable party.


How Do Independent Adjusters or Insurance Lawyers Get Paid?


The first claims adjuster you deal with works for (or is contracted by) the insurance company. They get paid by the insurer. When you hire a public claims adjuster or insurance lawyer to represent your interests, you are responsible for paying them. There are several ways they may charge:


  • The most common way for them to get paid is by contingency fee: a percentage of your overall payout. Alternatively, their contingency fee might come out of the difference between the insurer’s initial offer and what you’re able to secure with their help.
  • Flat rates may be charged for relatively simple cases. Be sure to check what the flat fee covers.
  • Hourly rates may be charged in select cases or regions, or where you just want some specific help handling matters on your own, though they aren’t common.


When you receive reams of paperwork detailing how the insurer calculated a settlement offer, it can feel overwhelming and confusing. You shouldn’t be expected to review it on your own. Get an expert in insurance claims on your side and deal with your claim confidently.

Comments (1)

Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Aug 11, 2020 02:48 AM