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Claims AdjusterWhen your home is damaged due to a peril that's covered by your homeowners insurance policy, your insurance company will assign your claim to a representative to act on their behalf. Depending on the insurance company they work for, their job title might be Claims Representative, Claims Specialist, Claims Examiner or Claims Investigator. But as a group, these claims professionals are commonly referred to as "claims adjusters."

Insurance Company Adjusters


Insurance companies hire adjusters that specialize in everything from small homeowners claims to major litigation cases. Whatever their specialty, they usually fall within two categories: inside adjuster or outside adjuster.

Inside Adjuster


Inside adjusters typically handle small property claims from the office. As many reported homeowners claims have only minor damage, inside adjusters settle a high volume of cases each month. These claims don't usually require complicated investigations, so they review coverage, then make contacts by phone and mail to develop the information.

If an insured verifies that a claim is small, an inside adjuster may simply ask for contractor's estimates of the damage and a list of damaged contents. If the documentation is reasonable and in order, he can decide to pay your claim without further information.

Outside Adjuster


When property damage is major — or when there are coverage issues — the insurance company will likely assign it to an outside representative for on-site investigation. Outside adjusters make initial contacts by phone, but follow up in person at an insured's home.

During the visit, the adjuster will discuss the claim and inspect the damage. If the home is uninhabitable, he or she can arrange to pay for emergency home repairs and temporary accommodations. He or she may also document the damage details, write his or her own estimate and maintain contact with the contractor during the repair process.

Independent Adjusters


Independent adjusters are independent contractors who work for their own claims-handling companies. They provide claim services to insurance companies on either a claim-by-claim or contract basis. They often have a background of insurance company employment and training.

Independent adjusters handle claims just like company adjusters, except they don't usually have the authority to verify coverage, settle claims or make payments. Still there are a several reasons why insurance companies might hire them.
  • Some insurance companies don't have staff adjusters, so they work with local or regional independents to handle all of their claims.
  • After an event, such as a catastrophic storm, insurers may be overwhelmed by claims. They assign cases to independents to maintain contact and settlement standards.
  • Some insurance companies assign independents when a property claim needs immediate attention and company adjusters can't get to them right away.

Public Adjusters


Public adjusters are independent consultants who work for insureds instead of insurance companies. Like company adjusters, they can evaluate coverage, review damages and work with a contractor. Like independents, they often come with an insurance company background and training.

Public adjusters can review a homeowners claim with the company adjuster and make recommendations; but they have no authority to commit to coverage or make a payment. They work on a contingency basis, the way some attorneys do. They earn money by collecting a percentage of their client's claim settlement.

Need help understanding the fine print? Call First Insurance Group at (800) 511-2892 for more information on Richmond home insurance.
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