The unfortunate reality is that when you suffer major property damage you’re at a significant disadvantage. The insurance claim process is incredibly complex and can be long and tedious—and unless you’ve dealt with a property damage claim in the past, you’re most likely in the dark about what it entails and what your responsibilities are.

Scary stuff when you’re talking about something as significant as your home or business—your entire financial future can be riding on recouping your losses. Most people don’t even know they have the option, but a public adjuster (a licensed insurance expert who advocates solely for the policyholder) can and should be hired for every major property damage claim.

Here are 8 reasons why you should hire a public adjuster.

1. Your insurance company has an adjuster on their side. You should have one on your side too.

The adjuster that comes to your property on behalf of your insurance company works for them—not you. Sure, they may be helpful and great at what they do. But the truth is, their job is to protect the best interests of the insurance company. Remember, it’s up to you to prove your loss. If you want fair representation on your behalf, you need a licensed public adjuster.

2. Public adjusters level the playing field.

Think about it. The vast majority of policyholders facing major property damage have never gone through the process before. Compare that to the deep experience of the insurance company and you can see just how uneven the playing field is. Property damage claims are complex and require an expert to handle properly. Just as you’d hire an attorney for your legal issues or a CPA to do your taxes, a public adjuster is non-negotiable for handling property damage properly.

3. Public adjusters will roll up their sleeves and do the hard work for you.

A public adjuster will dive into your insurance policy and dissect the language so they know exactly how to handle your claim. They’ll take physical inventory—thoroughly evaluating the damage and assessing costs—prepare a detailed and comprehensive claim, manage all communications with your insurance company to expedite the process, and negotiate on your behalf for the maximum settlement amount. This gives you the time and space to focus on getting back to your daily life.

4. Going at the process alone can ruin your financial future.

Insurance policies are tricky to navigate. The language is often confusing and nuanced, and key information can get lost in the translation. Among that important info? Strict deadlines for meeting obligations. And the scary part is that claims can be denied altogether if policyholder responsibilities are not met.

5. Overwhelm is real. And it can cost you money.

The claim process can last more than a year and can be tedious, overwhelming and, frankly, exhausting. By the end, most people are so fed up with the whole process, they just throw in the towel and give up, benefitting the insurance company—or they fail to submit receipts for the remainder due to all the things they’ve purchased. But the devil is in these details, and it all adds up.

6. Public adjusters know things you don’t. And that info can make or break you.

Did you know, for example, that you shouldn’t sign a release on your home insurance claim? How about that your insurance checks will be made out to you and your bank? Having an experienced and licensed expert guiding you through this difficult time can give you peace of mind and mitigate further loss.

7. A public adjuster will make sure your Rolex isn’t valued like a Timex.

Property damage claims can give rise to disputes over the value of particular items. You don’t have to let your insurance company replace your expensive belongings with cheap knockoffs! A public adjuster will advocate for your right to the full price of the item—not a lookalike version.

8. Most public adjusters work for a percentage of what they recover from the insurance claim.

In other words, it’s a smart financial move to hire a public adjuster. Not only do they have the potential to maximize your settlement, but they don’t succeed if you don’t succeed—simple as that.

If you’ve suffered major property damage and you want to be sure you’re protecting yourself financially, hiring a reputable public adjuster should be at the top of your to-do list. The experts at The Greenspan Co./Adjusters International are fully licensed, accredited by the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), and have been helping policyholders fully recover since 1946.