Is public adjusting a scam? Sometimes it can be, but sometimes it can be beneficial. Here are a few tips about public adjusters in general.
1. Make sure you have a valid first party claim (a claim against your company, and not another's). A public adjuster represents policy holders against their own insurance company only. They are supposed to be highly trained and in most States, they are required to be licensed, although in some States acting as a public adjuster is illegal. The main benefit to having a public adjuster is that they will do the legwork and negotiation for you, and they will make sure you obtain the maximum benefit your policy provides.
2. Evaluate the potential value of your claim. The cost of using a public adjuster varies, but if you have a good and ethical one the cost should be worth the benefit. If you have a claim that is valued at less than $5000.00, then the adjuster should be ethical enough to explain the potential loss you would incur by paying for public adjusting services. Most public adjusters charge around 10% of the claim value, so a $5000.00 claim would cost you approximately $500.00. If the adjuster can't increase your claim value by at least his or her fee, then it is only logical to assume the service they provide is not worth the fee.
3. Read up on the law regarding public adjusters in your State. If a license is required, make sure you check to see if the adjuster is properly licensed.
4. Ask to see the adjuster or firm's liability insurance policy or a copy of a liability bond. If they don't have one or the other, run.
5. Use your head. If the adjuster or firm won't answer your questions over the phone, or they have solicited you, then think again. A good public adjuster builds his or her business on word of mouth, and not by monitoring catastrophe's and soliciting victims of property damage.
6. Public adjusters cannot represent anybody for an injury claim, and they are not supposed to refer you to an attorney.