The person who figures out your payout.


What is an adjuster?

An adjuster, also known as an insurance adjuster or claims adjuster, is defined as the person who determines how much your insurance company will pay out when you file a claim.

What an adjuster does

Like a detective gathering clues to solve a crime, an adjuster gathers facts to establish what occurred, what’s covered under your insurance policy, and the amount you’re entitled to.

While some companies have begun experimenting with using artificial intelligence to do this work, today, almost all claims are investigated and have their payout determined by an adjuster.

How does an adjuster determine claim payouts?

When an adjuster is assigned a claim, their first step is determining whether the claim you’re filing is covered by the small business insurance you’ve purchased.

For example, let’s say your tools get damaged on the job so you file a claim to have them replaced. If you only have general liability, the adjuster will immediately deny your claim because general liability only covers property damage for those outside your business.

However, if you have tools and equipment insurance, your coverage matches your claim, and the adjuster will continue to gather information. (Tools and equipment is a general liability add-on coverage for contractors and cleaning businesses at NEXT.)

Depending on the type of claim, the adjuster may have to inspect the damage via photos or by seeing it for themselves. They may have to interview people involved in the incident to verify what’s been lost or exactly how the loss occurred.

If there are injuries, they may need to speak to the injured party or obtain medical records to determine what treatment has been offered. If the police, fire department, or any other public safety officials are involved, they’ll need to gather reports from them as well.

Once they have all the facts, they put them in a claim file and submit the file to your insurance company, along with a recommendation for how much you should receive for your claim.

Types of adjusters

In general, there are three types of adjusters: company adjusters, independent adjusters, and public adjusters.

Company and independent adjusters work for the insurance company. Company adjusters are insurance company employees, while independent adjusters are hired freelance or on contract to handle specific claims.

For the most part, company adjusters handle the day-to-day claims. Meanwhile, independent adjusters are brought in if there’s too much work or the insurer needs specialized experience to investigate a claim properly.

As both adjusters work for the insurance company, they get the claim settled as quickly as possible.

Public adjusters are also freelance, but instead of working for the insurance company, they work for a claimant. They go through all the steps a company or independent adjuster goes through but with the claimant’s interests in mind, not the insurance company’s.

This is because public adjusters are usually paid a percentage of your insurance settlement. Hence, they work to ensure you get every dollar you’re entitled to under your insurance policy.

For a small business owner, hiring a public adjuster doesn’t make sense if you feel shorted by a claim that is only a few hundred or thousand dollars. It’s probably not worth the adjuster’s fee.

But, if you suffer a major setback and the claim runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars, you might want a public adjuster’s assistance.

Insurance for every business with NEXT

With NEXT, you get affordable coverage because it’s made for your business, whatever business you’re in.

You can start a quote, customize your options and access your certificate of insurance online immediately — in about 10 minutes.

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Business insurance is divided into different policies. We offer seven types so it's easy to design the coverage that fits your business.
General Liability insurance
General Liability
Protect yourself from accidents that cause physical injury or damaged property.
Professional Liability or Error and Omissions Insurance
Professional Liability/E&O
Shield yourself from lawsuits that claim your work errors caused financial losses.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
Workers’ Compensation
Cover medical bills and lost wages if your employees have an accident at work.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial Auto
Stay on the road with coverage for dents, tows and damage to someone else’s vehicle.
Tools & Equipment Insurance
Tools & Equipment
Upgrade your general liability coverage to protect any gear that’s stolen, damaged or lost.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial Property
Keep your building, inventory and equipment protected from fire or water damage.
Business Owner’s Policy Insurance
Business Owner’s Policy
Combine general liability and commercial property into one policy to protect your business.
* To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.
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Issuance of coverage is subject to underwriting. Not available in all states. Please see the policy for full terms, conditions and exclusions. Coverage examples are for illustrative purposes only. Your policy documents govern, terms and exclusions apply. Coverage is dependent on actual facts and circumstances giving rise to a claim. Next Insurance, Inc. and/or its affiliates is an insurance agency licensed to sell certain insurance products and may receive compensation from insurance companies for such sales. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. Refer to Legal Notices section for additional information.

Any starting prices or premiums represented before an actual customer quote are not guaranteed and are representations of existing premiums of active policies as of December 6, 2023. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.