Insurance Appraisal Service
Many homeowners and business owners find themselves in a dispute with the insurance company over the settlement amount for their property damage claim. Most policyholders are not aware of their legal options to dispute and resolve their claim with their insurance company in lieu of hiring an attorney. Yet, most insurance policies include a provision for arbitration called the Appraisal Clause. The appraisal provision is the insurance industry’s version of arbitration. Unlike other forms of arbitration, the insurance appraisal process does not require attorneys, attorney fees and court.
Purpose of an Insurance Claim Appraisal
When you buy a home or commercial property, you work with an appraiser to determine the fair market value of that property. This helps establish the baseline for the purchase price. In the insurance claims process, an appraisal service can also be used to determine the fair market value of the property damage.
Sample Appraisal Clause in an Insurance Policy
If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either one can demand that the amount of the loss be set by appraisal. If either makes a written demand for appraisal, each shall select a competent, independent appraiser. Each shall notify the other of the appraiser’s identity within 20 days of receipt of the written demand. The two appraisers shall then select a competent, impartial umpire. If the two appraisers are unable to agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we can ask a judge of a court of record in the state where the property is located to select an umpire. The appraisers shall then set the amount of the loss. If the appraisers fail to agree within a reasonable time, they shall submit their differences to the umpire. A written agreement signed by any two of these three shall set the amount of the loss.
The Appraisal Process
When policyholders and insurance carriers disagree on repairs versus replacement and the amount of insurance claim settlement needed to properly restore property after a damage occurrence, the policyholder can invoke their rights to an appraisal. This allows you to hire an independent appraiser to determine the cash value of the damages. The insurance company will also hire their own appraiser to determine the cash value of the damages. Each appraiser will be paid for by the party selecting them.
The two appraisers will then select an umpire to serve as the arbitrator who will weigh both sides of the dispute and then make a ruling. The umpire is paid for by both parties equally – the policyholder and the insurance carrier. The two appraisers and the umpire make up the Appraisal Panel. The purpose of this panel is to determine the dollar amount needed to return the damaged property back to its original condition, either by repair or replacement. Once two of the three parties agree on an amount, the dispute is over and the policyholder receives their settlement check for the amount determined by the panel’s majority.
Choosing the Right South Florida Appraiser
When you opt for the appraisal process during an insurance claim dispute, you will need to select an independent appraiser to represent you and your interests in the arbitration. Many different people can serve as your independent appraiser including structural engineers, general contractors and attorneys that specialize in construction or insurance claims. A public insurance adjuster is licensed by the state to represent the policyholder in the insurance claims process. Many public adjusters can also serve as appraisers. Public adjusters have the depth of experience in loss occurrence and damage assessments, and are a cost-effective alternative to hiring an attorney, generally only charging a small percentage of 10-15% versus attorney fees of 30-40%.
Steven Venook of Advocate Claims Property Adjusters is a licensed industry professional who has been representing South Florida property owners through the insurance claims process for nearly two decades. Venook serves as a public insurance adjuster and an independent insurance appraiser. He has settled hundreds of policyholder disputes through the appraisal process with exceptional results for his clients so they can restore their property and life.
If you are in a dispute with your insurance company over the cash value of the property damage, call Steven Venook at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters at 954-369-2869 or email [email protected] for a free consultation.