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Insurance Appraisal Services Riverview

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Say you’ve filed a claim for damage to your home or property. When you and your insurance company disagree on what is to be covered for the amount of loss, what options do you have?

If both parties fail to agree, the typical next step is to invoke the appraisal clause of the insurance policy. This clause is written into many policies to settle valuation disputes. In other words, to make sure the homeowner feels they are being treated fairly during a disagreement.

Although the process may seem tedious at first, this could be a game-changer for your claim. When the result means you could get the actual cash value for the amount of loss you’ve experienced, it’s certainly worth looking into.

First, note that not all policies allow an appraisal, so make sure you know the specifics about your particular insurance policy. For the rest, they are a means to settle disputes and agree on the amount to cover the loss you’ve experienced.

How does the insurance appraisal process work?

When a disagreement arises between the insurance company and the policyholder, either may request an insurance appraisal. If you as the policyholder find yourself in this situation, make sure you have an understanding of what this process looks like and what is expected from you.

A typical appraisal process will follow this series of events:

  • The policyholder and the insurance company have tried to come to an agreement on the loss and damages in question, with no success.
  • If no agreement can be made, then the insurance appraisal process is invoked.
  • Both the insurance company and the policyholder select an impartial appraiser to evaluate the claim and loss of property or damages.
  • The appraisers will come to an agreement about the claim value
  • If the appraisers cannot come to an agreement, they will, in tandem, select an impartial person to serve as umpire.
  • The umpire serves as the final say between the two appraisers.

For both the insurance company and the homeowner, choosing the right appraiser (and umpire) for the process is essential. You need to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the process thoroughly, is experienced in the industry, and has excellent negotiation skills.

For the sake of the entire process, it’s vital that the appraiser and umpire are impartial to the case. You can read more here on the Florida Statutes for what would disqualify an impartial party.

Insurance Appraisal Process Riverview FL

How long can the process take?

Though insurance appraisals can be effective, they are by no means an overnight solution to a disagreement. It’s likely you will be waiting at least 1-2 months for the other side to name an appraiser or umpire.

Expect the entire process to take a maximum of a couple months. If you’ve chosen the right appraiser, this can help move things along quickly, so make sure you’ve done your research ahead of time.

So before you make your selection, read this blog post here to have a better understanding of what qualifies someone to handle your claim well.

Insurance Appraisal Cost

What is the cost to the homeowner?

Since the reason to invoke an appraisal clause is to make sure you are getting a fair amount to cover your loss, you’ll want to make sure it’s worth your time in the first place.

In Florida, if the appraisal clause is called upon, the homeowner and insurance company each pay their own appraiser, and equally share in the cost of the umpire and other appraisal costs.

The cost of a qualified appraiser and umpire can be thousands of dollars, which the homeowner will be expected to pay for their part. As the policyholder, be certain that the cost of the appraisal will not exceed the amount the dispute is over.

For example, a dispute over an additional replacement cost of $5,000 demanded by the policyholder could easily be eaten up by the fees of the appraisal itself. If the disputed amount is closer to $50,000, then you stand to gain a lot for your trouble.

In Florida insurance policies and state law, the qualifications for a person to be an appraiser are not as clearly defined as in other places. For this reason, it’s vital you do your own research to get the best person possible for your claim.

A qualified candidate in Florida is defined as a “competent and impartial appraiser.” Competency being defined as someone who has experience as an insurance adjuster or contractor, and is familiar with submitting insurance claims.

So, before you hire someone, make sure they have extensive experience in the industry and plenty of recommendations for their skills.

Strand of Florida Beach

Insurance appraisal disadvantages

Before the appraisal clause is invoked, make sure you’ve weighed the possible disadvantages to the process thoroughly. The last thing you want is the process to take up more time and stress than any initial property loss.

  • As discussed earlier, it’s possible the cost of the appraisal could exceed the amount disputed.
  • It’s not a guaranteed process. Once an appraisal award is signed, there are very limited options if you are still unsatisfied with the replacement cost.
  • It’s much more difficult for the insured to find an impartial appraiser, since more appraisers are willing to work with an insurance company rather than the insured.
  • Impartial umpires are difficult to find and get approved by an insurance company.

It’s possible the insurance company will benefit more from the insurance appraisal process than the policyholder, regardless of who called for the appraisal. The decision made by the umpire is final, and there is little the homeowner can do once it’s been made.

Insurance appraisal process vs lawsuit process

Oftentimes, the insurance appraisal process is an alternative to a lawsuit. It can be more cost-effective and will likely take less time.

As a general rule, it’s better to invoke an appraisal clause before considering a lawsuit. Doing this could save you time, and money, and will likely be a less stressful process overall.

Should you choose to pursue a lawsuit with your insurance company first, be aware that an appraisal process might be requested regardless? The benefit in this scenario is that there is a possibility of an appeal should the result not be in your favor.

In many states (Florida included) an appraisal clause is mandatory, so keep that in mind as you’re making decisions as a homeowner.

Insurance Property Damage Claims Riverview FL

Key takeaways to consider:

So if you’re in the process of filing an insurance claim, or you’ve already found yourself in a valuation dispute, you have some options. Understanding the process is one of the first things you can do to take care of yourself and your property.

If you take away nothing else, Florida residents should remember:

  • To be aware of what your specific policy states. Not all policies allow an appraisal, but some require it.
  • The cost of the appraisal should not exceed the cost of the loss you are trying to cover.
  • Selecting the right appraiser is absolutely essential to give your case the best chance possible. Make sure you’ve done your research to make sure the appraiser is properly qualified.

Though the role of the insurance appraisal process in claim disputes may seem taxing, it’s ultimately a way to civilly settle disputes between insurers and the insured.

Have any questions about the process? Feel free to send us an email at dependableresolutions@gmail.com. We’d be happy to offer professional advice or discuss working on your case.

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