Public Adjuster 101: The Appraisal

The Insurance Code in every state requires that the appraisal condition be contained in every homeowner or business policy. It is critical for the insured to understand the
appraisal process, so they can utilize the process if their insurance company underpays them.

Below is an excerpt from a homeowner’s policy that outlines appraisal:

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.

So, what does appraisal actually mean?

It is actually an independent arbitration. When the insured and the insurance company fail to agree on the amount of the loss. Once the insured exercises the appraisal
condition then the insured will name his appraiser and the insurance company will name their appraiser. The cost of the insured’s appraiser is bared by the insured and the
cost of the insurance company’s appraiser is bared by the insurance company.

After the two appraisers are named they are responsible for choosing an umpire. Normally,
an umpire is not utilized in the process. The umpire is called in only if the two appraisers disagree. If the umpire is called in then the cost of the umpire is split between the
insured and the insurance company. If the two appraisers cannot agree on an umpire, then a judge in any district court where the insured lives can name an umpire. Any
legal expenses incurred by going to court and asking a judge for an umpire would be split between the insured and the insurance company. The purpose of appraisal is to
secure an impartial settlement of the dispute. An impartial and nonpartisan umpire will be selected to give equal justice to all parties involved. The term disinterested party
may be used to describe an umpire.

In actuality, appraisal is used to provide a simple, fair, and inexpensive method to determine the amount of the loss. In the event that a lawsuit is filed, and one of the parties
properly demands appraisal, a judge in most instances will allow the appraisal process. If appraisal is properly carried out, and an award is determined, the amount of loss is
binding on the insurer and the insured.

While most policies do not usually address the time constraints of appraisal. Courts have held, in many states, that demand for appraisal must be made within a reasonable
time after the loss occurs. Insurance companies must move promptly to determine the amount of loss. Therefore, once an insured or insurer recognizes that an amount of
the loss cannot be determined then either party should make an immediate demand for appraisal. Otherwise, the claim could go beyond the statutory limit for a lawsuit. If the
appraisal process is not ended and the statutory limit is close to coming up, then a praecipe for a writ of summons must be filed with the court in order to preserve the suit
clause in the insurance policy.

About American Claims Ensurance

American Claims Ensurance specializes in homeowners and business insurance claim representation. We work vigorously and for YOU to ensure you get the highest possible settlement from the insurance company. Best of all, when you hire the best public adjusters to represent you, you will not have to deal with the stress of working with your insurance company.

American Claims Ensurance offers our insurance claim representation services on a contingency fee basis to YOU. That means, that if we do not collect any funds for you, we do not get paid at all. We will handle the entire claim process from beginning to end and make sure you get the settlement YOU deserve.

American Claims Ensurance has decades of combined experience and expertise knowledge on how the claim process works. We will also help to expedite your water damage or other type of claim as quickly as possible.

We represent home and business owners and are retained as expert witnesses by various law firms in a variety of property loss claims, including: