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Dealing with the Insurance Adjustor
If you ever have to settle an insurance claim, you're likely to find yourself saddled with an insurance adjuster. Although they mostly deal with larger claims -- in the range of several thousand dollars at least -- an insurance adjuster might be assigned any claim, large or small. Some even specialize in a particular type of claim; say, auto damage, injuries, or home insurance claims. The idea is to catch fraud when it occurs. Not that you'd ever falsify a claim, but some people would be happy to. For example, SUV owners have been known to report their vehicles stolen and then torch them, so that they can stop making payments and spending $100 every time they fill up with gas.
An insurance adjuster may be tasked not just with investigating the particulars of your claim, but also with directly settling the claim, authorizing payments, and settling issues of liability. Some insurance adjusters work independently, and are called in by an insurance company as freelance consultants. However, others may work directly for a casualty or insurance company. In some states, you can even hire a public adjuster, who will evaluate the claim on your behalf and then work with the insurance company to get you paid. When you do get paid, the public adjuster gets paid too, usually based on a percentage of the loss (12.5% is common).
Not the most popular guy in town
Whenever you have to deal with an insurance adjuster, it's certain you've just experienced a piece of bad luck. Maybe your car's transmission fell out on the highway, or an unwary motorist landed in your living room. After you call your insurance company, the insurance adjuster will soon arrive on the scene to find out what happened. While not necessarily popular due to their timing, insurance adjusters will get right to work to determine the facts of the case and work on assigning blame (another factor in their lack of popularity).
The most important thing for the adjuster is to collect information pertaining to the event that brought him or her to your door. They'll begin with interviews of the people involved, as well as any witnesses available. Once that's done, they'll collect physical evidence, such as photos and videos, and consult with other experts as necessary. They then put all this material into a report and evaluate it. If the claim is found to be legitimate, they'll direct that it be paid, and you can soon expect a check. If, on the other hand, foul play is suspected, they'll get with lawyers, expert witnesses, and others to legally contest your claim.
Made, not born
Insurance adjusters are typically licensed through the state, once they've been educated on the finer points of the job. The requirements vary from state to state, so you may not be able to use the same adjuster for incidents that occur in two different states. Insurance adjusters also have to keep constantly abreast of all the changes in their state's insurance laws, not to mention the policies of the company or companies they work for. If you think being an insurance adjuster sounds like fun, just remember that not only will you not be the most popular guy in town, you'll be in for a lot of continuing education during the course of your career.