If you have filed a property damage claim with your homeowner’s insurance company and you are struggling to receive payment, one option you have available is to invoke your right to an appraisal. This right is uniformly granted to both the insured and the insurer under standard homeowner’s insurance policies, and it provides a method for resolving coverage disputes without the need to go to court.
An Overview of the Insurance Appraisal Process
The appraisal process begins when one party – either the homeowner or the insurance company – submits a formal request in accordance with the terms of the homeowner’s policy. Each party will then choose an appraiser, and the two chosen appraisers will select a third appraiser (sometimes called an “umpire”) by mutual agreement. The homeowner’s and insurance company’s appraisers will then conduct independent investigations and separately arrive at coverage determinations for the homeowner’s claim. If their determinations are the same, the process ends and the insurance company issues payment. If not, the “umpire” will render a final decision that is binding on both parties.
When to Invoke an Insurance Appraisal
This contractual appraisal process is considered a form of informal dispute resolution. As a result, it is not the first step in the claims process, and homeowners should carefully weigh their options before initiating the process – which will ultimately result in a binding decision. Before invoking the right to an appraisal, homeowners should consider other means for securing coverage, including:
- Ensuring that they have complied with all of the post-coverage conditions for coverage;
- Hiring a public adjuster to determine the value of their claim and assist in informal negotiations; and,
- Engaging an insurance claim lawyer to assess their legal rights and communicate with their homeowner’s insurance company on their behalf.
While invoking the right to an appraisal is generally not your first option as a homeowner, it is an important option to keep in mind if a coverage dispute arises. Negotiating coverage is typically the quickest and most-cost effective way to secure coverage, but invoking your right to an appraisal will result in a resolution far sooner (and with far less cost) than taking your insurance company to court. Ultimately, whether to initiate an appraisal is a decision that should be made in light of the unique facts and circumstances involved in your homeowner’s insurance claim, and with a clear understanding of the ramifications involved.
Learn more about the insurance appraisal process:
- About the Appraisal Process
- Insurance Mediation, Appraisal and Litigation
- Personal Property Appraisals: When and How to Get Them
Should You Invoke Your Right to an Insurance Appraisal for Property Damage?
Are you struggling to resolve your homeowner’s insurance claim? If so, you can contact the Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin for a confidential initial consultation. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing policyholders in disputes with their insurers. For help evaluating your options and understanding your rights under your policy and Florida law, call us at (954) 928-9568 or tell us how we can help online today.