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Property Claims: Commercial, Industrial, School District & Municipal

Property Insurance Appraisal Services

Most, if not all, property insurance policies have an Appraisal Clause.

 When there is a dispute between the insurance company and the property owner regarding the amount of loss during the property insurance claims process, the policyholder/ property owner can invoke the insurance appraisal.

Pros and Cons of Insurance Appraisal:

  • Most likely quicker than lawsuit
  • ​Could be less much less costly than attorney
  • ​Usually less adversarial than attorney
  • ​Must pay hourly fees plus incurred expenses
  • ​Outline of Insurance Appraisal process exists but there is no firm procedure

What is the Insurance Appraisal process?

The Insurance Appraisal clause is usually found within your property insurance policy. It is an alternate dispute resolution which can resolve the disagreement between policyholder and insurance company regarding the dollar amount paid for an insurance claim.

Please know that Insurance Appraisal does not determine or open coverage. The coverage needs to be established and opened by the insurance company before Insurance Appraisal is invoked.

If the coverage has been opened by the insurance company then it may be appropriate to invoke insurance appraisal.
Insurance Appraisal is a method of alternative dispute resolution that is found in most homeowner and commercial insurance policies. The verbiage in the policy may dictate how the appraisal process is handled.

Insurance Appraisal is appropriate when there is a disagreement over the loss amount of an insurance claim. This usually includes: scope of work, method of repair, and pricing.

When properly executed, appraisal shall be binding on the parties as to the amount of loss. If an amount is determined in favor of the insured, the insurance company shall still apply their coverage analysis to the appraisal award to determine the final dollar amount paid to the insured.

This is important because if the appraisal is not properly invoked or properly executed the process may not be so binding.

How does the Insurance Appraisal process work:

Most property insurance policies typically will contain an insurance appraisal clause like this one:

"Appraisal. If you and we fail to agree on the actual cash value, amount of loss, or cost of repair or replacement, either can make a written demand for appraisal. Each will then select a competent, independent, appraiser and notify the other of the appraiser's identity within 20 days of receipt of the written demand. 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 district court of a judicial district where the loss occurred. The two appraisers will then set the amount of loss, stating separately the actual cash value and loss to each item. "

Basic Insurance Appraisal process:

1. Invoke Insurance Appraisal
2. Insurance company has 20 days to assign their appraiser and contact insured’s appraiser
3. Two appraisers determine who the insurance appraisal umpire will be if they disagree on the amount of loss
4. Two appraisers determine the estimate and try to agree to: the damage, scope of work, method of repair, and pricing
5. If the appraisers fail to agree to the amount of the loss, they will submit their differences to the umpire.
6. The umpire will review the pertinent information from each party and make a decision
7. Any decision agreed to by two of these three people will set the amount of loss. Such award shall be binding.

Each party will pay its own appraiser, bear the incurred expenses of the appraisal, and if needed pay the cost of umpire equally.
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