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January 22, 2024

What Is an Insurance Adjuster and What Do They Do?

In the insurance industry, you’ll encounter more people than just your insurance agent or broker. You’ll also encounter an insurance claims adjuster.

So, what is an adjuster in insurance? They’re the people who investigate the insurance claims you’ve made to determine the extent of the insurance provider’s liability. They’re integral to the insurance process for all parties involved. 

With that being said, what does an insurance adjuster do? What process do they follow to determine liability and define a fair settlement? 

Keep reading to learn the answers! 

What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do? 

Insurance adjusters investigate common claims to determine how much liability an insurance company will cover for a client in the event of a loss. 

Here’s an example: imagine you get into an accident while driving a company-owned car, leading you to file a claim with your insurance provider to help pay for the vehicle and property damage. Your insurer will assign a claims adjuster to your case to verify that the damages are covered under your auto insurance policy

But what does an insurance adjuster do during their investigation? Typically, their work during this process can be divided into three main areas: 

  • Thoroughly inspecting the damage
  • Interviewing the claimant (you) and witnesses
  • Reading through relevant medical and police reports

The insurance adjuster will use all of this to determine if an insurance policy covers specific claims being made and to what extent they are covered. 

In the auto accident example, the adjuster could find that you’re liable for the incident and that the damages therefore fall outside the scope of your coverage. Or, perhaps, you may only be eligible for partial coverage given your responsibility. 

If everything checks out, the claims examiner will then work with you throughout the insurance claim process until you receive a settlement from your insurance company. 

A construction site engulfed in flamesImage source: Canva

Understanding the Types of Insurance Adjusters 

Now that you know what an adjuster is in insurance, it’s time to delve into the types of insurance claims adjusters. 

Staff or Company Adjusters 

A staff or company adjuster works full-time for one insurance company; they are a salaried employee who only works for that firm. As such, they only respond to claims for the insurance company they work for.

Independent Adjuster 

Independent adjusters represent an insurance company but are contracted by a third-party claims handling company or work for an independent adjusting firm. 

They work similarly to in-house adjusters in that they investigate claims, interview claimants, file reports, and determine insurance company liability. It’s not uncommon for independent adjusters to be working on multiple claims from multiple insurers at one time.

Public Adjuster 

Public adjusters are self-employed and do not work for independent adjuster firms or insurance companies. They’re most commonly hired by policyholders who believe they’ve received an unfair or incorrect settlement offer from their insurance provider. 

Just like the first two types, public adjusters investigate the claims, speak to claimants, collect evidence, and determine how much the settlement should be. They get paid by receiving a percentage of the eventual settlement fee. 

What to Ask an Insurance Claims Adjuster 

With that all being said, what is an insurance adjuster doing for you? 

Well, they can become a valuable resource if you keep an open line of communication with them. Some of the questions you could ask them include:

  • When is the deadline for filing the claim?
  • What is the process for getting a specific item or asset—such as equipment, your car, or your property—repaired?
  • What kind of documents should you produce to support your claims?
  • How long until a claim is settled or resolved?
  • What kind of compensation can you expect to receive from your insurance company?

In case you need to follow up, make sure to ask the claims examiner for their contact details, including their name, phone number, and email address. 

What if You Disagree with Your Insurance Adjuster? 

There may be situations or incidents where you are unhappy or not in full agreement with your claims adjuster. Before giving up or thinking of other solutions, it’s a good idea to have a detailed conversation with your claims adjuster where you can discuss the following: 

  • Terms of the insurance: Ask the relevant questions to understand what clauses and terms of the insurance come into play for this claim—and then decide if it’s fair or not.
  • Prepare your file well: Provide detailed descriptions of lost or damaged items, create an inventory of said items and document everything through photographs and videos.
  • Get your own estimates for repairs and replacements: Do your research to see what is usually covered and paid for in circumstances like yours. 
  • Get the agreement in writing: After you mutually agree on a number, make sure to have it in writing so they cannot go back on their word. 
  • Read the fine print: As with insurance policies, claims too can come with their own terms and conditions so make sure to read the document carefully before making a decision. 

Doing your due diligence will help you back up your claims and make the insurance claims process more straightforward to navigate. 

An insurance claims adjuster inspecting a vandalized building

The Insurance Brokerage You Can Trust 

So, what is an insurance adjuster? As you’ve learned, they are the person who investigates a claim to determine the insurer’s liability in a settlement. They’re integral to the entire process—as is choosing a trustworthy broker. 

Contractors Insurance is an award-winning insurance brokerage dedicated to connecting clients in the construction and trades industry with reputable insurance companies. We pride ourselves on choosing insurance partners who work with fair and accurate insurance adjusters to make the claims process more trustworthy and seamless. 

If you’re still wondering “What does an insurance adjuster do?” or how it applies to your policy and the claims process, contact us today!


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