Do you need a public adjuster?

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“People shouldn’t underestimated wind damage, which is covered under a traditional homeowner’s policy,” said Ronald J. Papa, president of the National Fire Adjustment Co. Inc., a senior professional public adjuster and a past president of NAPIA. “Carriers are quick to call it all flood damage.”

One thing homeowners need to determine, Papa said, is whether floodwater comes in through a backed-up sewer or drain. “Something like that may afford coverage,” he said. He added that water can also intrude from the top of a building, through, for example, a damaged roof or siding, and that would be considered wind damage, not flooding.

Papa’s daughter, Jodie — one of his two daughters who are also P.A.s, and the chairwoman of membership for NAPIA — said that they have gotten hundreds of calls from people requesting their services since Hurricane Sandy. “We go out and meet with the homeowner or business owner,” Jodie said. “We need to see the wind or flood damage, and then we prepare a statement of damage, and we meet with their insurance adjuster.”

“It’s never too late to call us,” Jodie added. “The [time limit] is two years from date of loss.” With a national flood plan, it’s one year from date of denial — and then an appeal can be filed.

When looking for a P.A., Ronald Papa cautioned, “Ask for their license, and ask for references.”

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