There is an old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” This is especially true when it comes to handling an insurance claim after a disaster strikes your home or business.

While almost everyone has property insurance, a majority of people do not understand their insurance policies or the claims process that is required after experiencing such a loss. In fact, most people believe the insurance claims process is as easy as calling your insurance company and reporting the claim. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Insurance companies are in business to make money, mostly for themselves. They are not non-profit companies. The goal of the insurance company is to keep its costs down by settling claims for the lowest possible amount. Too often, property owners settle for much less than their insurance claim is worth.

Anyone considering filing a property insurance claim should also think about hiring a public adjuster. Public adjusters work exclusively on behalf of policyholders to help people get all that they’re entitled to from insurance claims. They help evaluate damage and rebuilding costs, track the flow of insurance payments and amounts due, and work with insurance companies to expedite their clients’ insurance claims.

As a policyholder, you have little to lose: Many public adjustment firms offer to visit a property loss for free of charge to help a policyholder determine the severity of damage and whether they should file an insurance claim.

Even if a policyholder is confident in the dollar value of their property loss, it is good practice to get a second opinion. Remember, an insurance company will never voluntarily pay more than an amount claimed. Policyholders need to be conscious of if they are claiming the correct amount. Hiring a public adjuster can help ensure that.