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Sever home damaged - WHY hire your own Public Adjuster

Services for Real Estate Pros with Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent)

Over the past couple of months, on several blog posts about the coming hurricane storms, I've made repeated comments and also wrote a blog entry [SEE BLOG] about how important it was to hire your own public adjuster.  BUT, in a conversation last night with an AR member, I realized, I never explained the WHY it was so important.  As a victim of Hurricane Charlie [SEE BLOG], I will explain in layman's terms, since I am certainly no expert in this insurance system and how it works, but from the public viewpoint from me to you I learned the hard way why it was so important.  Here is a simplistic scenario, but it will give you the explanation of WHY it is so important.

Insurance adjuster comes out to inspect your home.  S/He has their little notebook out writing all details, talking to you while looking over the home.  Taking pictures, measuring.  Then they are done.  In THEIR notes and paperwork, they determine you have $100,000 in damages....BUT Mr/Mrs Jones, according to my figures, I have determined you have $35,000 damages, and if your contractor needs any additional money, call me at 555-1234.  You look, you have NO IDEA, your not a contractor, and you do not know how much it will cost to rebuild.  Plus you don't know all the loopholes in your policy and additional damages that you can claim and get reimbursed for, so you say good, and take the money.  Your contractor comes out and say, this will be $55,000 to fix.  OK, so dial Mr/Ms Insurance Adjuster, and tell them, hey, I need $20,000 more money to rebuild.  OK Mr/Ms Insurance Adjuster says no problem, and send you a check for the additional money.  A couple weeks later, your builder informs you they have encountered a few more problems, so it will be $5,000 more, so you call up Mr/Ms Insurance Adjuster again, upset, but you need a little more money.  They say no problem again, and send you a check for the additional request.  Now you realize some more furniture is damaged that you didn't see before - but rest well assured the insurance adjuster saw it!!!  You say it will be $5,000 to replace some of the damaged furniture.  Again, call Mr/Ms Insurance Adjuster again, saying you need more money, again, no problem.  So here is the recap:

  • $35,000 original payout
  • $20,000 in builder additional charges
  • $  5,000 in additional damages discovered by the builder
  • $  5,000 you see in additional furniture damages
  • $65,000 now paid out on your claim that they saw $100,000 in damages.

You walk away thinking your back in your home and done.  Whew.  BUT, this is where I got DISGUSTED!!! Did you know......the Insurance Adjuster gets a cut of the amount of money SAVED from damages to payout.  THAT is why it is so important to hire your own adjuster, as they will say NO right in the beginning and say, I have totaled my worksheet and have $100,000 right from the beginning.  And because that is the damages that you have, they must payout that amount.  While hiring your own adjuster will take 10-15% usually, you then have more money to completely rebuild and replace everything damaged at least as good as what you had.

SO PLEASE, if you or someone you know has damages from any event (fire, tornado, hurricane, anything) HIRE YOUR OWN PUBLIC ADJUSTER!! 


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Bo Hussung
Bell Title /Triserv LLC - Nashvle, TN

Ron, I am assuming this is not anecdotal but documented? I was not aware of this and applaud you for the warning and advice



Sep 19, 2008 01:58 AM
Ronald Gillis
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent) - Port Charlotte, FL
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY

Bo, I did not know this until 2004, when I lived through Hurricane Charlie and found it out by talking to the adjuster - MY - adjuster that I at first hesitated to hire.  Once I knew this, it eliminated any doubt I had that I did the correct thing, and that is why I want so many to know how it really works!!

Sep 19, 2008 03:24 AM
Jean Groesbeck
Compass - Anacortes, WA
Broker, CRS, e-PRO, ABR, ASP, CNE, IMS

I hope there is not too much damage and that people do not have emotional scars. It is has been a tough couple of years!

Sep 19, 2008 11:29 AM
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Ron, this is just amazing information. I had no idea. I will be handling my insurance claims differently in the future starting this week! I thank you for all the advice and I enjoyed visiting with you the other night. I am hoping your trip goes well and is lucrative! Stay safe.

Later in the rain~Deb

Sep 22, 2008 05:46 PM
Ronald Gillis
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent) - Port Charlotte, FL
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY

Jean, I certainly agree!  Deb, good luck, and it was great meeting you!   And I received the following anonymous comment by email rather than commenting here:

Insureance adjusters do not get paid for what they save. Staff adjusters get paid a salary so the pay is the same no matter how big or small there estimate is. Independent Adjusters are paid based on a fee schedule - the higher the estimate, the more they get paid.

Dear Anonymous:  We can agree to disagree.  I've been through a disaster and found this out first hand.  Maybe some pay other ways, but this is how most work, and the system needs to be changed so hiring your own adjusters or attorneys should not be needed, when you have certain damages, they should be paid, period!

Oct 02, 2008 04:22 PM
Anna Matsunaga
Team Momentum Keller Williams Realty Tacoma - Lakewood, WA
Seller specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert

wow, what good info, not something I would have thought of, of course I always got my own estimate from the auto body shop when I had an accident, this is really just an accident with a house.....thank you.

Oct 06, 2008 05:30 PM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

I didn't know that but would that have been the case with or without your own because they still had one out or you saying don't let them use theirs. We were lucky the insurance company paid our contractor, roofer and all repairs were done.

Oct 09, 2008 04:42 PM