Most, if not all, Florida homeowner’s policies provide for an appraisal process. As Miami insurance claims attorneys we are well acquainted with the appraisal process. The appraisal language in a Florida homeowner’s policy contains language similar to the following:
Appraisal. If you and we do not agree on the amount of the loss, including the amount of actual cash value or replacement cost, then, on the written demand of either, each shall select a competent and disinterested appraiser and notify the other of the appraiser selected within 20 days of such demand. The appraisers shall first select a competent and disinterested umpire; and failing for 15 days to agree upon such umpire, then, on request of you or the company, such umpire shall be selected by a judge of a court of record in the state in which the property covered is located. The appraisers shall then resolve the issues surrounding the loss, appraise the loss, stating separately the actual cash value or replacement cost of each item, and, failing to agree, shall submit their differences, only, to the umpire. An award in writing, so itemized, of any two of these three, when filed with the company shall determine the amount of loss. Each appraiser shall be paid by the party selecting that appraiser. Other expenses of the appraisal and the compensation of the umpire shall be paid equally by you and us.
Fort the most part, an appraisal takes place when an insurance company agrees there is a viable policy and coverage. However, appraisal may be requested by either party when there is a disagreement as to the amount of the loss. If either party decides to invoke the appraisal clause, assuming there is only disagreement as to the amount, then the other party is not able to deny the demand. United Community Ins. Co. v. Lewis, 642 So.2d 59 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1994). The next step is for each party to designate their own appraiser. An appraiser argues in your favor as to the extent and amount of the loss. If the appraisers cannot agree among themselves then they must designate an umpire to determine the value of the loss. However, appraisals should not address matters that are not covered under the policy. Kendall Lakes Townhomes Developers, Inc. v. Agric. Excess & Surplus Lines Ins. Co., 2005 Fla. App. LEXIS 15692 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2005).
Before an appraisal can be had the insured must comply with all post loss requirement or conditions precedent. Chimerakis v. Sentry Ins. Mut. Co., 804 So.2d 476 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2001). For example, an insured has to report the loss, allow inspection of the property, and submit to a recorded statement and/or statement under oath (EUO). An insurance company can request appraisal even though they originally denied a claim. Gonzalez v. State Farm and Casualty Company, 805 So.2d 814 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000).
As Miami-Dade insurance claims attorneys we understand that dealing with insurance companies can be complicated. South Florida homeowner’s insurance claims attorneys can help you review your policy and if need be through the appraisal process. We are available 24/7 and can be reached at 1.888.413.8353.