An insurance adjuster usually works for the insurance company (though some are independent). They are sometimes called claims adjusters. Their job is to come out and inspect your car, home, or property and assess how much the insurance company will pay to repair any covered damage.
What is Their Primary Responsibility?
When there has been an accident or incident that causes damage to your property, and it is something you pay insurance to cover, you contact the insurance company to pay for the repairs. The claims adjuster sets up a time to come and look at the damage. If this is an automobile accident, they will look at police reports, photographs, inspect the car, and speak to the repair shop. They are determining who is at fault for this accident and to what degree. If they find that you (the insured party) is responsible, then they compare the damages with the coverage amounts to arrive at a dollar amount that the insurance company will agree to pay.
Some cases are not so easy to decide. Perhaps there is a fire in your home. The insurance adjuster must determine what the cause of the fire was to see if it is a covered expense. Another example is this: You recently had a new roof put on your home. Shortly after that, a storm came through, and the roof was damaged. The insurance adjuster will determine if the damaged roof was caused by the storm or by inadequate installation or sub standard materials provided by the roofing contractor.
Are Insurance Adjusters Attorneys?
No. The insurance adjuster will try to make you believe their word is final, but they are not a legal authority, and they cannot engage in any practice of the law. They cannot give you or the insurance company “legal” advice. Their job is to investigate the case, collect the evidence to substantiate the evidence and to apply their findings to the coverage allowed under your policy.
What If I Do Not Agree With the Adjuster? Do I Have Options?
When you have a significant loss, like the destruction of your home due to a fire, for example. The number the insurance company offers you in the settlement, may not be sufficient to satisfy you. You do have options. You can hire a private adjuster who will do exactly what the insurance adjuster did, only with your best interests at heart. You can then begin negotiations with the insurance company. Many people believe their best option is to go directly to a car accident attorney. The car accident lawyer will fight on your behalf, and the insurance company knows they will not hesitate to go to court if they do not treat you fairly.
Insurance adjusters are not out to get you. However, they are hired and paid to settle your claim for the lowest dollar amount possible. If you misunderstand the power and position of the adjuster, you may feel you have no choice but to accept their opinion. That is not true. Do not let an insurance company shortchange you after years of giving them your hard-earned dollar to make sure you would be covered in a situation just like this. If they do not want to treat you fairly, call a car accident attorney.