What Is a Homeowners Insurance Appraisal?

It is not enough for a homeowners insurance company to accept liability for your losses. The insurance company must also offer a settlement that accurately reflects the full extent of your damages and losses. The company will do so through a homeowners insurance appraisal.

What Is an Appraisal?

If you need to make a homeowners insurance claim in Florida, you and/or your insurance provider will conduct a homeowners insurance appraisal. This is not the same as a home purchase appraisal. It is the process that allows the insurance company to determine the value of your claim based on an evaluation of the damage. A homeowners insurance appraisal describes a professional appraiser visiting your property in person to determine the value of your losses.

There are two different types of homeowners insurance appraisals: one by the insurance company’s appraiser and one done by an independent appraiser hired by you. It is important to have both types of homeowners insurance appraisals to determine a fair value of the claim. Otherwise, you may not be able to trust the appraisal done by the insurance company.

The insurance company will want to save as much money as possible on your claim by devaluing your losses and offering a minimal settlement. This is how insurance companies make a profit. Instead of only trusting a property appraisal by the homeowners insurance company, hire your own neutral appraiser for fair results.

Do You Need an Appraisal?

Typically, the language of your homeowners insurance policy states whether or not an appraisal is mandatory during a claim. In most cases, this is a mandatory process when the insurance company or the insured party properly demands an appraisal. If the appraisal is improperly invoked or conducted, however, it will not be binding in terms of the amount of your losses. The best way to ensure a proper homeowners insurance appraisal is with help from an attorney.

The Homeowners Insurance Appraisal Process

Both the insurance company and the insured have the right to request a homeowners insurance appraisal. If you both cannot agree on the value of your property insurance claim, one or both of you can hire third-party appraisers. Understanding what to expect from the appraisal can make it easier for you and your family to go through this insurance process.

  1. Hire a skilled insurance appraiser. First, if you are invoking the appraisal, find a skilled and qualified professional. The homeowners insurance appraiser you choose should have experience with your specific type of property damage.
  2. Both appraisers will select an arbitrator. Arbitrators are hired to resolve disputes between you and the insurance company. The arbitrator and the appraisers form what is called an appraisal panel.
  3. The appraisers investigate the claim. The appraisers will visit your property in person to conduct on-site visual inspections. They will also review any evidence and documentation submitted as part of the claim.
  4. The appraisers try to reach an agreement. Both appraisers will work with the arbitrator to agree on the value of the policyholder’s losses and damages. If they cannot agree, the arbitrator will review both reports and settle the case.
  5. The valuation of the claim is finalized. The appraisers or the arbitrator will finalize the valuation of the claim, at which point the appraisal panel will sign off on an award. The insurance company will then be required to pay this amount as your settlement.

The homeowners insurance appraisal is an important part of your claim. It is what decides the final value of your property insurance claim. Choosing the correct insurance appraiser is important, as is knowing how to deal with the insurance company during a claim.

For assistance with the entire homeowners insurance claims process, including the property appraisal, contact an insurance attorney in Tampa, Florida. An insurance attorney can help ensure you receive a fair settlement offer.