Can a Public Adjuster Reopen an Old Insurance Claim?

There is a lot of information out there about public adjusters and how they can be used to handle insurance claims, but what about once a claim has been settled or otherwise closed? Does a public adjuster have the authority to reopen old claims in Florida? 

Filing an insurance claim is a stressful experience for most people. You are already dealing with the aftermath of whatever incident caused the claim, whether it’s a vehicle accident, property damage, or even a total loss due to the seasonal hurricanes that Florida is known for. The last thing you need is to worry about whether or not you’re going to get the compensation that you deserve. 

Too often, people assume they are given a “fair” review of their claim and offered a comparable settlement to their losses. While this is ideal, it isn’t always what happens. Because insurance companies are looking out for themselves first, many insured parties are taking settlements that are a fraction of what they’re owed. 

What Is a Public Insurance Claims Adjuster?

Two types of adjusters are involved in most insurance claims: the insurance company’s adjuster and the chosen public adjuster. For those who don’t want to rely on the insurance company, hiring an adjuster can provide valuable peace of mind and insights as to what they could be getting for their claim. 

Staff adjusters and independent insurance adjusters are working for the insurance company. Public adjusters, on the other hand, are working for the policyholder. That’s why having one on your side can benefit your claims processing, payout, and more. 

The next question people have is whether or not they need a public insurance adjuster. There are several instances where this may be a good idea. For starters, if your claim is particularly complex or involves a lot of elements, you might want someone on your side with a little bit of professional expertise. 

Perhaps your insurance company is trying to pay less than you think the claim is worth. That’s also a good reason to hire a public claims adjuster. Remember, these people work for you, not the insurance company. 

A public adjuster can be beneficial to anyone who:

  • Has suffered a complicated or large loss 
  • Doesn’t have the time or capabilities to handle their own claim
  • Disagrees with the insurance settlement offer and wants an outside opinion

They will take your place in dealing with the insurance company and work to ensure that you get the maximum amount for your claim, no matter what the case may be. For those wishing to revisit old claims, you’ll be happy to know that they’re treated with the same sense of urgency and dedication. 

Why Would I Reopen a Claim?

The state of Florida is currently dealing with a major insurance crisis. More companies are pulling out of the market, denying coverage to former policyholders, and trying to pay claims at rates far lower than what they’re worth. The insurers are out for themselves first, as clearly evidenced by their pullback as the market got a little more unsettled. 

Why would you reopen a claim? Consider… 

  • You originally accepted a low settlement but now realize you have ongoing injuries that may require more compensation. 
  • You took the first settlement from the insurance company under pressure because you didn’t know better. 
  • You weren’t aware of your rights as a policyholder and want someone on your side to protect what’s yours. 
  • You have found new evidence to support the case for additional damages or a higher settlement. 

If you feel you have any reason to reopen your claim, you’ll want to contact a public claims adjuster first and foremost. 

How to Reopen an Old Claim 

So, what happens if you want to open an old insurance claim to revisit what kind of compensation you were given? First, you must determine whether the claim can be reopened because not all of them are. Some settlements include a provision that specifically revokes the right to reopen any claim or related claims once they’re signed and agreed upon. 

Check the terms of your policy and the laws in your state, or contact a public adjuster and ask if they can help. Typically, they will already know the laws and be able to help you decode your insurance policy to see what you can do. They will also advise you on the statute of limitations or the time you have to reopen a claim after it has been settled. 

Assess the Claim 

The first thing that your public adjuster will do is assess the claim and the circumstances of your case. That will help them to see whether you have a reason to reopen your claim or if there isn’t enough to work with. It may also allow them to identify things that were missed the first time or that you didn’t know about. 

This is a great chance for you to get a feel for what the adjuster is like. It’s important to have someone on your side that you can get along with and that you truly feel has your best interests in mind. Once they have assessed the situation, they can help you decide how to proceed. 

Determine What’s Changed (If Anything)

You can’t reopen a claim just for the sake of it. You must have a good reason related to new evidence, new injuries or losses, or anything else. Figure out what has changed since the claim was settled and how that impacts the outcome. Your public adjuster can help you figure out what is different so that you can start re-processing your claim. 

Typically, the answer to “what’s changed” is the very reason that you’re curious about reopening the claim in the first place. 

Review the Evidence 

If there is new evidence, that will need to be added to the case file. An independent third party should also review existing evidence to ensure that all documentation is accurate and that nothing was left out of the initial claim. This can take some time, but it’s a worthy cause because it will help you get a better outcome when you reopen an insurance claim. 

If there is no new evidence, you will need to make note of that. In many cases, reopening claims focus more on the financial payout than the evidence and other details, but that’s not always true. A public adjuster ensures the evidence gets the proper scrutiny it deserves. 

Notify the Insurance Company 

Now that you’ve gone through all the details and finer points, you’ve decided that it is a good idea to reopen your claim. Your public adjuster has provided insight into the process and helped you see what you could gain by reopening your claim. The next thing on your list is to notify the insurance company. 

This is something that you can do, or you can have your adjuster make the call. In either case, you must let your insurer know that you are reopening the claim or filing a dispute of some type so they can anticipate what’s to come. This may also help you access valuable evidence and resources from the initial claim. 

Usually, when you tell your insurance company that you are reopening a claim, they will do everything in their power to dissuade you from actually going through with it. That’s why it can be a good idea to let your public insurance adjuster speak on your behalf and fend off insurance companies that aren’t always working with your best interests in mind. 

Restart the Claims Processing

Now, all that’s left is to go through the claims process just like you did the first time. This round, however, will include whatever insights, information, or new evidence that has been brought to light to warrant the reopening in the first place. Your insurance adjuster can help you file all the paperwork to support your claim and stay by your side so that you don’t get taken for a ride by insurance companies. 

Reopening a claim will be a much longer process than filing a claim initially. It takes dedicated time and resources and it isn’t something that happens overnight. Therefore, if you think this is the best course of action, now is the time to start working on your patience. 

Final Thoughts 

Public insurance adjusters are your solution to protect yourself from less-than-reputable insurance companies. Make sure you take the time to find an adjuster you can count on, no matter what you have in mind. Reopening old claims is a tedious process that takes dedicated expertise and that only comes with hiring an adjuster. 

Some people take it one step further and file a bad faith claim against the insurance company, stating they failed to “act in good faith” in handling a claim for a policyholder. However, that’s less common and most people get the settlement they want with the assistance of a public adjuster. 

If you think you have an old insurance claim that deserves revisiting, contact the team at On Target Claims and find out how we can help. We’ll objectively examine your claim and other details to help you decide on the best way to proceed. 

Related Content: How to File an Insurance Claim for Maximum Payout After Wind Damage in Florida

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