A devastating property loss
                        requires professional help.

 

 

 Frequently Asked Questions

Things you should do

Action Item Checklist

  • Notify your insurer of the loss.
  • Protect the property from additional damage and secure it from entry.
  • Obtain a certified copy of your insurance policy, declaration page and all applicable endorsements.
  • Document the damages (including debris piles) by videotape and/or photography.
  • Preserve the evidence of damage and provide your insurer easy access to your property to help expedite the claim process. It is the policyholder's responsibility to document and prove their loss, not the insurance company's.
  • Review your insurance policy provisions and/or schedule an initial consultation with an experienced licensed public adjuster at no charge.
  • Do not be in a rush to hire contractors and professionals until you understand how the cost impacts your claim. Money spent wisely in the short & long term is important because of possible insurance coverage limitations.
  • Request that your insurance company obtain a hazardous material test from a licensed expert to determine whether lead and/or asbestos exist at your property.
  • Arrange for mail and landline phone number(s) to be forwarded to your temporary location.
  • Maintain water and temporary electrical services to the property, if possible. The insured is responsible for mitigating further damage to property and landscaping, etc.
  • Do not dispose of any damaged property until it is thoroughly inventoried.
  • Save all receipts and track expenses that are incurred as a result of the loss (e.g. hotel, food and personal property replacement)
  • Keep careful notes on conversations with insurance company personnel and their vendors and claim consultants, including dates and content.
  • Research carefully before hiring anyone. Consumers are vulnerable to misrepresentations of zealous sales professionals who want you to sign with them now!
  • Contact your local tax assessors office to apply for temporary property tax assessment relief.

1. Why can’t I hire you after the insurance company has made me an offer?

You can, but it may not be in your best interest to wait. You can hire a public adjuster at any point after a loss. However, it can become increasingly more difficult to get the insurance company to revise their claim as more time passes. Also, resolving disputes late in the process can delay resolution of the claim. Remember that the insurance claim’s adjuster, as well as your agent, are representing the insurance company, not just you.

2. How do I know you will earn your fee and secure a settlement greater than what I would get on my own?

Unfortunately you don’t, but if you handle the claim on your own, you will never truly know whether you are getting a fair settlement. However, if you spend the time to identify what public adjusters to enhance the policyholder’s recovery and talk to a knowledgeable expert, you will learn how they can increase your recovery.

3. How is your fee paid and when is it paid?

Public Adjusters are paid a percentage of the settlement amount. The fee is negotiable and depends upon the size of the loss and the costs incurred to prepare the claim [e.g. antique and fine arts experts, construction consultants, etc.] Public Adjusters are generally paid when the insurance payments are received by the insured.

4. What is the difference between using a public adjuster, an attorney, or simply relying on a contractor to estimate the damages?

Public adjusters are licensed by the California Department of Insurance and are hired by the insured to prepare and present their claim. Many attorneys do not specialize in first party property insurance claims, and those that do often charge more than a public adjuster working on a contingency basis. Contractors are not unbiased nor disinterested experts in property damage evaluation, and do not have the wherewithal or the proper licensing to represent the insured as their advocate on all matters related to the claim. Also, if the insurance company has their own adjuster, and cost consultant and/or contractors to bid the repairs, they do not have to accept or recognize an outside contractor as the legitimate representative of the insured.

5. If I hire a public adjusting firm, how do I know what person I will be working with?

You don’t, but you should! Some public adjusting firms employ sales representatives to secure new clients who are then passed along to the actual adjusters. With Consolidated Adjusting, Inc. you will be working with the principal, Bill Hedden.

6. How do I know that my file will get the time and attention it requires?

Again, you don’t, but you should! The skill-set and time availability of the individual adjuster[s] handling your claim are crucial factors in determining the outcome. To ensure that your file gets the top priority and attention, make sure you are dealing directly with the individual who will handle your claim before you hire the company. Be aware that commissioned sales professionals are often motivated to take on new business regardless of staff availability, and public adjusters who handle a large volume of claims may be forced to limit the time and attention they give to your claim.

7. How many new claims does Consolidated Adjusting, Inc. manage per month and do you conduct business in other parts of the country?

I commit myself to only a few new claims per month. I intentionally limit my case load so that I can provide the time and personal attention my clients deserve to effectively service their unique claim challenges. All public adjusters are required to carry an individual California Public Adjuster license and although this allows me to practice throughout the State, I elect to work primarily in the immediate Bay Area.

8. How is Consolidated Adjusting, Inc. different from other public adjusting firms and what makes you a better choice than your competitors?

As a small firm dedicated to customer service, I am able to foster long-standing relationships with my clients and guarantee the personal attention that their claim requires during such a difficult process. Powered by the wealth of experience I bring to every claim, I am able to go the extra mile to ensure that claim settlements will meet or exceed expectations.

Copyright 2015

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