What Is An Insurance Appraisal

And insurance policy is Florida and most states is likely to have an appraisal clause. What is an insurance appraisal?

What is an insurance “Appraisal Clause” and how does it work?

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An appraisal clause is a clause or paragraph found in most but not all insurance policies. It is designed to be a binding way of reaching a settlement when there is a dispute over the amount of a loss between you and your insurance company and can be invoked by either party or may require both parties to agree. It is not common for an insured to request appraisal when both parties are required to agree for the carrier to accept this request. However, when either party can invoke this can be a useful tool depending on your individual claim.

How Does the Appraisal Process Work?

If an insurance policyholder and the insurance company can’t agree on the estimated value of the loss, some policies require both parties to agree to Appraisal. Other policies allow for either party to demand that the damages be determined by an appraisal panel. Here is how the process works:

  1. Both the policyholder and the insurer will hire an independent appraiser or disinterested party. It will usually state, ” In this event, each party will choose a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request from the other.”
  2. Together, the two appraisers will choose an umpire (Umpire is usually a General Contractor or sometimes a retired judge) , who acts like an arbitrator (essentially the judge). The umpire will resolve any disagreements that arise between the appraisers. The Umpire only gets involved if the two appraisers cant reach a settlement. Most policies state,” If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request that the choice be made by a judge of the court of record in the state where the “residence premises” is located.
  3. The two appraisers will then examine the documents and estimations and try to reach an agreement on how much the repair or replacement should cost.
  4. If the appraisers can’t agree on specific items then they will submit their differences to the umpire. In this case, the most policies in Florida will state, “If the appraisers submit a written report of an agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will set the amount of loss.”
  5. Once two parties of the appraisal panel come to an agreement they will sign a binding appraisal award. The insurer will pay that amount to the policyholder.

How much does going to appraisal cost? 

Most Policies will state,

“Each party will:

A: Pay its own appraiser: and

B: Bear the expense of the appraisal and umpire equally.”

Umpire cost usually ranges from $2,000-$3,000 for a residential claim. Of course, the insured will only pay half of this cost. This is something an insured needs to consider this when making the decision to go to appraisal.

If you are considering going to appraisal or the carrier has demanded in ivoked appraisal and you have to respond you should call a Public Adjuster for a free claim review. This is a binding decision and should not be taken lightly. This will require the guidance and expertise of an Experienced Public Adjuster. Please contact us today for a free claim review at (407) 212-8669.