Appraisal & Umpire Services

At a standoff over the amount of loss? Feeling frustrated and stuck? Invoking the appraisal clause found in your insurance policy and hiring Stowe Public Adjustment as your insurance appraiser is likely the best course of action!

What is Appraisal?

An appraisal is a form of alternative dispute resolution which is available under the terms of most insurance policies. An appraisal is a tool that can be used to resolve disputes between the policyholder and the insurance company if either side disagrees. An appraisal is primarily used when there is a dispute about the cost of repair.

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How Do I Request Appraisal?

In order to invoke appraisal, you must make a written demand and mail a certified copy to the opposing side. (See our sample demand letter by clicking here). Within 20 days of the opposing party receiving the demand, they must also appoint their own appraiser.

What Happens Once I Invoke Appraisal?

Once the appraisers are appointed, they will jointly select an insurance claim umpire. The role of the umpire is to rule on the amount of the loss in the event that the appraisers cannot agree. An umpire is not always needed, but one is always appointed as a fail-safe. The two appraisers and the umpire are referred to as the “Appraisal Panel”

Next, the appraisers independently evaluate and set the amount of loss. If the appraisers agree on the amount of loss, their agreed figure becomes the amount of the loss. If they cannot agree, the umpire is asked to review the disputes and make a ruling. Any agreement between two parties (i.e., both appraisers or one appraiser and the umpire) becomes binding and final.

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How Does The Appraisal Get Paid?

Each side is responsible to pay their own appraiser, but the cost of the umpire is shared 50/50.

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Where, Does It Say I Can Demand Appraisal?

Under the property loss conditions in most policies it 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 and impartial 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: 1. Pay its own appraiser; and 2. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.” Refer to your policy for the specific language.

What Are The Pros Of Hiring An Appraiser?

  • Hiring an appraiser takes the disputing parties out of the equation. The amount of loss will no longer be set unilaterally by the insurance company and the claim adjuster cannot patriciate or influence the appraisal process. The appraisers are unbiased and disinterested parties who set the amount of loss independently.        

  • Hiring an appraiser expedites the settlement during times of dispute with your insurance company.

  • Hiring an appraiser is typically much less costly than hiring an attorney and instituting litigation.

  • Hiring an appraiser is essentially a second opinion on your claim.

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Are There Any Cons With Hiring An Appraiser?

  • Hiring an appraiser means that you will be responsible for the costs associated with their services, regardless of outcome. You will also be responsible for half the cost of the umpire (if needed). Traditionally payment for appraisal and umpire services are not due until the appraisal award is finalized and claim payments are released. You should discuss the anticipated costs with your appraiser.

  • Appraisal is final and binding. Appraisal comes with risk as there is not a process for appeal once the appraisal panel sets the amount of loss. It may also prejudice your rights to future litigation.

Should I Hire A Public Adjuster or Appraiser?

Stowe Public Adjustment can evaluate the current state of your claim and advise if hiring a Public Adjuster or invoking Appraisal is the right decision for you.

Call us for a free consultation. 1-888-88-STOWE (78693)