NJ STATE PUBLIC ADJUSTERS
973-992-6383 OR 973-992-3228
Call 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week
ALL INSURANCE CLAIM TYPES
We can provide you with experienced public adjuster representation on your residential or commercial insurance claim.
New or pending claims.
Claim denials and appraisals.
We also offer services:
973-992-6383 or 973-992-3228
Frequently Asked Questions
NO RECOVERY - NO FEE - YOU HAVE NO RISK
NJ State Public Adjusters Corporation
Q: What is a Public Adjuster?
A: Public Adjuster is an expert on loss adjustment and the recovery process, who is employed by the policyholder - not the insurance company. The Public Adjuster assists you, the insured, with his intimate knowledge of insurance policies and negotiation techniques, in preparing, filing and managing the payment of insurance claims regarding property loss. He works on your behalf.
Q: I have already received a payment for my claim from the insurance company and I think it's too low. Is it too late to reopen my file?
A: A Public Adjuster can re-open your file and start renegotiating with your insurance company toward a higher settlement. However, once you have been paid it does become a bit more difficult. This is why it is wise to hire a public adjuster from the very beginning of the claim.
Q: How is a Public Adjuster compensated?
A: You pay absolutely nothing out of pocket! A Public Adjuster’s compensation is a small percentage of your insurer’s claims payments that are made to you. The Public Adjuster's fees are more than covered by the larger settlement he has obtained for you. Remember, if there is no settlement, there is no fee to you at all!
Q: Why do I need help with the claim?
A: There are several reasons why you may want to consider obtaining help with your claim:
1) Filing a claim requires a written, itemized statement of your losses. You may not realize what the extent of your damage is, and the insurance company is not obligated to tell you. The burden of proof is on YOUR shoulders. The Public Adjuster will help you identify everything to which you’re entitled.
2) Filing a claim is a tedious, time-consuming and aggravating process. The Public Adjuster can take this burden off your shoulders and free you to get your business or home affairs back on track. During this emotionally charged time, you just don't have the presence of mind to spend hours and hours over inventory itemization and to argue with your insurance company whether something should "just be repaired" rather than replaced.
Think about it, in a court case, would you allow the opposing side to hire THEIR attorney to represent YOU?
I don't think so. Then why would you allow the insurance company to hire THEIR adjuster to represent YOU?
Q: New Legislation in New Jersey Protects Homeowners from Insurance Companies.
A: Many people are hesitant to file a valid insurance claim. They fear retribution from their insurance company such as raised premiums, non-renewal or cancellation of the policy. Ever heard that you should never file a claim because it can come back to bite you? But isn’t that counterintuitive? A person buys homeowners insurance to gain piece of mind but doesn’t want to utilize said insurance for fear of ramifications!
Well, this is a thing of the past
In 1999 an act was passed in New Jersey prohibiting any insurer to cancel or non-renew any insurance policy covering an owner occupied dwelling because of claims due to weather related damage or third party criminal acts such as vandalism or theft. See NJSA 17:36-5.20(a). This means that a homeowner can have total piece of mind filing a valid weather related claim such as rain damage, frozen pipes causing water damage, damage due to weight of ice and snow, wind damage to roof and siding and mold damage caused by any of the above perils. Similarly, if a property was vandalized or robbed a homeowner need not be hesitant to file a claim, as it cannot be held against you!
But what about premium rate hikes?
An email correspondence with the Office of the Insurance Ombudsman with the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance revealed the following. “As for premium ramifications, insurers cannot raise an individual's premium for losses unless they gain approval for a general rate increase, which would apply to all customers regardless of losses.” So that general fear was totally unfounded even before this legislation! Apparently, this has been confused with the automobile insurance industry where premium rate hikes following a claim are the norm. Hopefully, once homeowners are informed of this legislation, they will once again utilize their homeowners insurance to receive what they are truly entitled to and can finally feel secure knowing that when disaster strikes they will be taken care of.
Q - My roof is leaking should I report this to my insurance company?
A - No, this is not a covered loss. The repairing of the roof is a maintenance issue and is not covered by your insurance policy. The insurance policy only covers the subsequent damage.
Q - Should I cash my check if I don't like the claim settlement?
A - Yes, it is ok to cash your check; Doing so does not prevent you from asking for additional money.
Q - If the insurance company's check has my mortgage company on it, how do I cash the check?
A - New Jersey law requires that the insurance company notify your mortgage company that you had a loss, by putting their name on your check you will have to get your mortgage company to endorse your check. Your mortgage papers also has wording that requires them to be notified in case there is damage to the property. Remember, they loaned you money and have the right to protect their equity. You will need to speak to your mortgage company to find out their particular process for making sure you repaired your damage to their satisfaction.
Q - Should I call the insurance company before I hire a public adjuster?
A - No, a public adjuster will help you to decide if it is a covered claim and if it is worth reporting this claim to your insurance company. Insurance companies keep records on your calls and will often count a call as a claim; this may raise your rates even though you never really wanted a claim to be reported.
Q - Can my insurance company drop me after a claim?
A - Yes, an insurance company can basically do as they please. They can raise your premium or drop you after a claim. The bottom line is your insurance company makes the rules and decides if you are a profitable customer to them? The watch phrase here is buyer beware.
Q - Am I required to use the insurance company's contractor?
A - No, they will often have a preferred contractor program to offer you their contractor to do emergency service or repairs, but they will NOT warranty or guarantee their work. Ask their contractor for references in the same way you would hire your own independent contractor. Remember, these contractors get their work assignments from the insurance company so, ask yourself, who do they really work for?
Q - The insurance company requires three written estimates. What do I do?
A - There is no requirement in your policy that requires you to get three estimates. The public adjuster will put the estimate of damages together for you and save you the trouble of getting three estimates. Further, the estimates have to be written on a per-line item basis and most contractor estimates do not comply with this. If your three contractor estimates are not detailed, the insurance company will ignore them. Most contractors do not have the software, knowledge, or time to write estimates for free.
Q - My contractor said he will negotiate my claim?
A - The only people authorized in the state of New Jersey to negotiate and settle an insurance claim are:
The policy holder
Q - The adjuster came and took pictures and told me it is ok to throw everything away, but the adjuster left things out of my estimate?
A - It is up to you to document your loss. Many of these "storm adjusters" are only here temporarily leaving you to prove your damages after they have skipped town. If they send out another adjuster, or if a public adjuster needs to have photographs of the damaged items, and you cannot provide them, the insurance company will not consider any additional payment. They are under no obligation to keep your pictures or give you a copy. You must prove your own loss.
Q - The insurance company said the loss is not covered? Can I still hire a public adjuster?
A - Yes, but a public adjuster will only take on assignments if they feel it should be covered? That is why it is better to meet with a public adjuster first to help guide you through the claim process. Once your loss is denied you may need to hire an attorney.
Q - I have a water leak but I don't know where it is coming from?
A - You have an obligation to stop any leak and mitigate any damage under your insurance policy. The insurance can deny your claim for not stopping the leak in a timely manner. Your claim can not go forward until you know the cause of loss, and, the estimate of damages cannot be made until after your repairs are completed.
Q - The insurance company is charging more then one deductible for my claim?
A - Each covered cause of loss is a separate deductible. If a pipe leaks today, and then the pipe leaks tomorrow, they can charge you with two deductibles, as it is two separate occurrences.
Q - I want to report my claim and see what they pay me before I hire a public adjuster?
A - Most public adjusters will charge more for a claim once submitted as it is now more work to undo problems that existed before they entered the case