When a loss of property occurs, it is up to your Florida public adjuster and the insurance company’s expert to work together and determine damages and coverage amounts. Usually, each party will prepare and present their estimates. Once this is done, the next logical step is for both parties to agree on an overall amount that is then transferred to the insured party.
But sometimes adjusters are unable or unwilling to come to a mutual agreement on coverage and damage amount. When this happens, the insured party’s public adjuster will often recommend starting an appraisal process. This clause is usually mentioned in property insurance policies and contracts, and can be instrumental to the settling of a damage claim. It also helps the homeowner to avoid a costly and time-consuming trial.
How to Know When a Claim is Headed For Appraisal
There are signs indicating that the appraisal process is imminent. Should an insured party make unreasonable demands in the beginning of a claim procedure, this may cause the invocation of an appraisal process. The same is true if legal action is threatened by the insured party.
If the investigation or judgement of a claim is jeopardized due to late reporting, appraisal may be the next step. Appraisal may also follow if the insured party does not supply enough documentation or adequate experts to support the damages they are claiming.
Insured parties who do not want to invoke the appraisal process should take care not to begin any emergency repairs or hire the services of repair companies prior to reporting their claim.
How the Appraisal Process Works
The clause in an insurance policy will usually describe this process very clearly. Should the adjuster and the adjuster from an insurance company disagree on an amount for compensation to the insured, an appraisal panel is formed, which will be made up of 2 damage estimators and an arbitrator, also known as an umpire. Should the appraisers not be able to agree on an umpire within fifteen days, the task of selection can fall to a judge of a court of record in the state where the insured party’s home is located.
Should any two members of the panel agree on the appraisal amount, this will be used to represent the value of the loss. As such, it will be this amount that is awarded to the insured party.
There are many insurance companies who now include an arbitration provision in their coverage documents. This process is usually looked upon as a form of private litigation. The arbitration process is conducted in a private setting for the purposes of preserving confidentiality.
Arbitration is also binding, which means that both parties are obligated to adhere to the findings of the process. It is also usually much lower in cost than an appraisal. The lower cost is due to the fact that only an arbitrator’s set up, preparation and time attending the arbitration is considered.
Speaking with your adjuster about the processes of appraisal and arbitration can help determine the best way to handle your property damage claim.
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