When homeowners or business owners are unable to agree with the settlement offer from their insurance company it’s time to invoke the appraisal clause (if your policy allows for it). Even when you have exhausted all other means by documenting your claim thoroughly to the insurance company there is a good chance the insurance company will still not pay up.
How Does the Insurance Appraisal Process Work?
If you fail to agree on the amount of damage, either the insurance company or the insured (you) can demand appraisal. At that time each side selects a competent, disinterested appraiser. The next step would be to choose an umpire that is unbiased and neutral, and if they are unable to agree a court ordered appraiser may be chosen, in some instances a retired judge will act as the umpire. The umpire is used if the two appraisers are unable to decide on the total damage amount. United States Adjusters has established relationships all ready in place with unbiased umpires, relationships like these tend to be priceless for those worried about running into one sided insurance company favoritism by "Insurance Company Dogs" - who are umpires that award settlements that favor the insurance company and not what fair and impartial.
At United States Adjusters, our appraiser will review all of the necessary documents, declarations page, policy, estimates and determine the best course of action. There may be a need for experts to be hired such as a structural engineer or roofing expert. It must me noted that appraisal is not the time to determine coverage, its purpose is to only determine a definitive damage amount. We feel using experts when need can only assist in increasing the settlement in your favor.
It is our experience having appraised thousands of claims over the years that evoking the appraisal clause allows us a distinct advantage when it comes to being able to get the settlement the policyholder deserves, and allowing you to put the property back to pre-loss condition.
When hiring an appraiser you will want to hire an insurance claims expert such as a public adjuster that has a proven track record in the insurance appraisal arena. There are others that advertise about knowledge of insurance appraisals but lack the skills set to even write an estimate or scope a loss, or even fully understand the insurance policy language and what you may be entitled to.