First, let’s review the insurance policy itself, here’s a sample AllState Auto Policy.
An insurance policy is essentially a contract between the Insurer (Allstate for example) and the insured (you). The contract outlines your coverages, the terms, and conditions as well as dispute mechanisms under which you can challenge the insurer’s findings, the appraisal clause.
Here’s what a sample appraisal clause states:
Right To Appraisal
Both you and we have a right to demand an appraisal of the
loss. In the case of a total loss, requests for appraisal must be
in writing and must be submitted within 60 days after we
make a written offer of settlement.
You and we will each appoint and pay a competent and
disinterested appraiser and will equally share other appraisal
expenses. The appraisers, or a judge of a court of record, will
select a third appraiser. Each appraiser will state separately
the actual cash value and the amount of loss. An award in
writing by any two appraisers will determine the loss amount
payable. This decision will be binding.
The appraisal clause essentially shields the carrier from lawsuits arising solely on a disputed cash value.
If you disagree with your carrier’s assertion of cash value, you have the right to challenge this amount by hiring your own appraisal expert.
When you hire us, we will provide you with an Actual Cash Value appraisal report and a demand letter, this is needed to initiate the dispute process.
To order an appraisal, please go to our “Order Appraisal Report” page.
9 out of 10 times, carriers will settle directly with their policyholder after an appraisal and demand letter is sent to them challenging their findings.
However, in the off chance that they actually follow through with the appraisal clause, our company offers this service for a fee.
Below are the settlement services we offer.