When Invoking The Appraisal Clause Is Helpful

If you have a significant difference of opinion with the financial amount awarded by your insurance company over a loss, invoking the appraisal clause (if your policy allows it) may be a good option for you to explore.  In this article, we’ll give you the in’s and out’s of invoking the appraisal clause – and what to expect through the process.

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence when insurance companies under-value vehicle repairs in a number of ways. They may only be willing to pay for cheap, aftermarket or salvage (yes, you read that right!) parts. They may decide not to pay for certain repair procedures recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. And they may only want to pay the very least when it comes to the body shop’s labor rates and vehicle storage fees. No matter how you get there, if you find yourself in a strong disagreement with your insurer over the value of your vehicle’s repair – invoking the appraisal clause may be a viable option.

Before invoking the appraisal clause, it’s important for you to understand what happens – and what’s at stake.  First, you must be able to demonstrate the you and the insurer have identified a dispute – and have made actual efforts to find common ground.  If that has happened, and you wish to proceed with the appraisal process, then both you and your insurer will have to secure competent, qualified and independent appraisers. Additionally, you’ll both need to agree on an umpire who will have the final (and legally binding) say over your case.

These steps can take a bit of time, and you should be prepared for the process to take as much as two months in some cases.

In many instances, insurers would rather just pay the proper amount instead of going through the whole process of appraisal. So just letting them know that you’re ready and able to go through invoking the appraisal clause might be all you need to loosen up some of their purse strings. (They know when they’re cutting corners just to increase their own profits).

It’s important to note that the process of invoking the appraisal clause is NOT a guarantee that your claim payout will meet your expectations. However, it is a great tool to be aware of – and use whenever you feel that your insurer isn’t being a “neighborly” as they should.

Here’s an article that you might find helpful as well: What If I Disagree With My Insurance Adjuster?

And one more thing to consider: Some insurers DO NOT offer the right to appraisal within the terms of their policies.  While we won’t name any of them here, it would be very wise of you to look over the terms of your policy – and ask questions of your insurance agent if you can’t find it anywhere in your policy.  And as aways, we’re more than happy to help answer any questions you might have, too.  Feel free to contact us here, any time.