Get help wrangling a fair settlement from your insurer

David Skipton

If your home is wrecked by a natural disaster, you're not at the mercy of your insurance company.

That's right, you don't have to accept the first lowball offer your insurer and its claims adjuster throw out there.

You're entitled to a second, totally independent opinion on how much damage you've suffered and how much you're due under the terms of your homeowners policy.

Where do you get that second opinion? From an independent public adjuster.

These are insurance experts who represent the consumer, not the insurer, to make sure the property owner gets a fair shake.

This help isn't free. Public adjusters work on contingency, taking a portion of the settlement they negotiate for their clients.

But after tornados and wildfires wreaked havoc across the country this spring, we asked David Skipton if he'd explain what public adjusters do and how they can help homeowners rebuild after a catastrophic loss.

Skipton (that's him at the top of the story) is the president and executive general adjuster of Skipton & Associates, which is based in Phoenix and has offices from California to Florida.

"In many cases, we write our own scope of repair, and then we contact the insurance company and ask them to come out for a re-inspection," Skipton says. "Then we go through and itemize in detail from every aspect of damage that their estimate overlooked.

"When you do it in that manner, it's generally pretty easy to get the insurance company to admit that they made mistakes."

How big a mistake? Skipton claims his average recovery is 300% higher than the insurance company's original settlement offer. So a very big mistake.

Take a listen to how he describes the process, and keep your right to a second opinion in mind if the unthinkable happens to you and your home.

Click here for a transcript of our podcast with David Skipton.