Your Guide to Property Insurance Appraisal
In Florida, appraisal has long been used as a way for parties to resolve disputes over the true value of the damage. In recent years, appraisal has become an ever more important part of the property insurance claims process. Policyholders should have a basic understanding of appraisal. To help, our experienced Fort Lauderdale property insurance attorneys have put together a list of four important things you need to know about appraisal.
- Appraisal is a Form of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Appraisal is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is used to try to get policyholders and insurance companies to a solution without actually going through litigation. Property insurance litigation has the potential to drag on for a considerable amount of time, driving up costs for all parties involved. Appraisal can be used to resolve certain, minor or moderate disputes, without a lawsuit.
- Appraisal Generally Addresses the Value of a Loss, Not Causation
Property insurance disputes have the potential to be extremely complex. It is important to note that in Florida, appraisal is generally used in cases where the dispute is over the fair market value of the policyholder’s ‘losses’. In cases in which the dispute is over whether or not the damages are covered by the policy at all, appraisal is not the correct method to resolve the dispute. Of course, in the real world, this is not always a black and white issue. There are cases in which there can be a blending of questions regarding ‘value of loss’ and ‘cause of loss’.
- Many Property Insurance Policies Include ‘Appraisal Clauses’
Many Florida property insurance policies include appraisal clauses. These insurance provisions allow parties to make a written demand to have the loss valued. You should always refer to the terms of your specific policy to know whether or not you are covered by this type of clause and to see what exactly you will need to do to invoke appraisal. As a general rule, appraisal provisions state that each party will be able to select its own impartial appraiser, and that those appraisers will then pick an umpire to help resolve the dispute over value of the property damage.
- Appraisal is Not Subject to Florida Arbitration Code
In Florida, appraisal is distinct from arbitration. This is important because it means that the appraisal process is not covered by the Florida Arbitration Code. Appraisal, while often useful, is not the proper venue to resolve comprehensive disputes regarding coverage. Appraisal awards will not be enforced in manner of an arbitration award.
Do You Have Questions or Concerns About Property Insurance Appraisals?
Our law firm can help. At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, we fight for the rights and interests of policyholders. If you have any questions or concerns about a property insurance appraisal, or your rights or responsibilities under your policy, please contact us today for a free case evaluation. From our office in Sunrise, we represent property owners throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, and Deerfield Beach.