Insurance Appraisal Services
If you and your insurance company are unable to reach an agreement regarding the scope or payment amount of your claim, a possible consideration would be to file for appraisal. You cannot file for appraisal if a claim is denied or there are coverage questions, only the scope of the damages or the estimated amount (cost) of the claim.
Some insurance policies may have slightly different language, but the appraisal clause in a standard policy states:
“Appraisal. If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose a competent appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request from the other. The two appraisers will choose an umpire. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days, you or we may request that the choice be made by a judge of a court of record in the state where the “residence premises” is located. The appraisers will separately set the amount of loss. 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.
Each party will:
a. Pay its own appraiser; and
b. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.”
Here are the steps shown in the illustration above:
1 – Following the loss adjustment process, there is a dispute in the value and/or scope of the loss.
2 – The insurance company and the insured each select their own competent appraiser to represent them and the appraisers then agree on an umpire.
3 – The appraisers meet at the loss location and review all pertinent information, documentation and photos. They each independently prepare estimates for the damages. If they are able to agree on the amount of the damages, payment is made based on the agreement and the claim is closed.
4 – If they are unable to reach an agreement, the umpire is brought in. The umpire reinspects the property, reviews all original documents and all documents from both appraisers and prepares their own independent estimate.
5 – The umpire issues a proposed decision called an award.
6 – When one or both of the appraisers agree with the umpire’s award, the award is signed resulting in a binding decision; then payment and enforcement of the award.
According to the policy, each party is responsible for paying their own appraiser and then they will split the cost of the umpire. An appraiser typically costs $1,500 to $2,000, which is an out of pocket expense for you. However, if you have hired Banner Adjusting & Claim Consulting as your public adjuster, we will also be your appraiser at no extra charge. This service is included in our fee.