Insurance Appraisals & Fair Settlements

Insurance revolves around a system of calculated risk taken by insurance companies. Policyholders purchase an insurance contract that guarantees they are returned to their prior financial position in the event they suffer a covered loss. If your home or business is damaged by a fire, tropical storm, earthquake, or hail you should be able to rely on your insurance company to, in essence, eliminate the financial blow as per that contract. Sometimes things don’t work out as smoothly as advertised by the insurance companies.

When you submit a claim, the insurance company will send out an adjuster to assess the damage and calculate what the repairs will cost.

This claims adjuster is sent by the insurance company and works for the insurance company. Most policyholders don’t realize that the dollar amounts provided by the insurance company’s adjusters or their representatives are open to negotiation and repair costs can be disputed. You can (and should) dispute the claim if it the amounts fall short of reality or you feel you are being treated unfairly. This is where a hiring a Public Adjuster can be beneficial.

A Public Adjuster works for you, as the policyholder.

Most insurance policies also contain a clause that allows you to formally dispute a claim amount. This third-party opinion on the damage can be set in what is called an appraisal. The appraisal is conducted by an independent disinterested panel. This is indicated in your policy’s appraisal clause.

This is a faster and lower cost option than litigation and is often used successfully by the policyholder to obtain a fair settlement. Once a disagreement occurs between a policyholder and the insurance company, the appraisal clause can be invoked by either party.

You as the policyholder would appoint a claims professional such as a Public Adjuster or Insurance Broker as your “appraiser” – the insurance company will appoint their own appraiser. The policyholder appraiser and an insurance company appraiser will select an umpire. One may be appointed by the court if the two cannot agree on a candidate. Both appraisers will inspect the property and review the claim line by line. Any disputes between the appraisers in their damage valuations are sent to the umpire who then reviews the materials and breaks ties. This panel of three helps ensure that an accurate dollar amount is awarded. Any two of the three agreeing will bind the appraisal award with their signature. The disputing parties pay their appraisers and the split the fee of the umpire accordingly.

The award is binding on both parties. Find a more detailed description of this process here.

Do you need the assistance of a Public Adjuster or Appraiser? With over 25 years of experience, Bell Operations Systems can help! We will make sure you receive the correct compensation in a timely manner ! Find out more by visiting our other pages. To speak to an adjuster, appraiser, or insurance claims consultant, give us a call at (845) 704-7727 today. Ring the Bell!

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