A Texas property insurance appraiser is a professional who steps in when a policyholder and an insurance company cannot agree on a property damage claim value.
You and your insurance company might disagree about the amount of loss or the scope of damages during a claim settlement – such as the total cost to repair storm damage to your home, for example. You may disagree with your insurance company and think that their estimate for repairs is too low.
Disagreements and negotiations are a normal part of many property damage insurance claims. But when your insurance company refuses to negotiate on the amount of loss, you have the option to settle your claim by invoking an appraisal clause in your insurance policy. In doing so, both you and your insurance company need to hire your own appraiser to determine the value of the loss.
The goal of the appraisers is to make a determination as to a fair price for your claim, or what your insurance claim is worth. This undoubtedly means that hiring the right appraiser for this process is critical.
If you have never had an insurance claim appraisal, then you may be totally unfamiliar with the process and how to find a trustworthy and experienced insurance claim appraiser in Texas. ClaimsMate is here to help you with the appraisal process on your insurance claim, with exceptionally skilled property damage appraisers in Texas.
Keep reading to discover how an insurance appraisal works in Texas. We’ll explain how to find an insurance appraiser and how water, fire, roof, wind, flood, and water damage claim appraisals work.
Invoking an Appraisal Clause
Every property insurance policy in Texas has an appraisal clause.
The actual appraisal process, however, varies between companies and insurance contracts. Check the ‘conditions’ section of your insurance policy to determine how to invoke the appraisal process and how the typical appraisal works.
Typically, the appraisal clause in your contract will state something like this:
“If you (the policyholder) and we (the insurance company) fail to agree on the amount of loss, then either party may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this situation, each party will hire a competent and neutral appraiser within 25 days of receiving a written request from the other. The two appraisers will choose an appraisal umpire. The appraisers will separately assess the amount of loss. The two appraisers may submit an agreement to both parties, in which case the dispute will be settled. If the two appraisers cannot come to an agreement, then they will submit their differences to the appraisal umpire.”
Each party – including you and your insurance company – is required to hire an appraiser. Each party must pay for its own appraiser. Both parties must also split the expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.
How to Find an Insurance Appraiser
An insurance appraiser is a competent and disinterested professional. The appraiser will evaluate the claim, then determine the value of the property or amount of the loss.
How do you hire an insurance appraiser in Texas?
Typically, an insurance appraiser is an adjuster – like a public adjuster with firsthand insurance industry experience.
In other cases, a property insurance appraiser is a contractor, an engineer, or anyone who is capable of accurately evaluating and determining the amount of loss.
In Texas, ClaimsMate is not only the leading source for experienced public insurance adjusters, but also provides property insurance claim appraisals from expert appraisers for Texas policyholders.
What is an Appraisal Umpire?
After both you and your insurance company hire an appraiser, both appraisers will work together to pick an appraisal umpire.
The appraisal umpire is a competent, disinterested, and impartial individual who may render a final, binding decision if the two appraisers cannot reach an agreement.
A qualified umpire could be someone like an engineer, a contractor, or a retired judge – or anyone else capable of giving an impartial valuation based on his or her expertise in the field.
To find an umpire for insurance appraisal, the two appraisers may leverage existing industry connections.
If the two appraisers cannot reach an agreement on the amount of the loss, then the decision will go to the appraisal umpire.
Finding the Right Property Damage Appraiser in Texas is Crucial
Selecting the right insurance appraiser for a property damage claim is crucial. Ideally, the insurance appraiser you choose will be an expert who knows the intricacies of insurance claims like the one you’re dealing with.
Some appraisers may have in-depth experience in certain fields of insurance. In Texas, you can find plenty of professionals advertising their services as:
- Tornado damage appraisers
- Fire damage appraisers
- Hail damage appraisers
- Wind damage appraisers
- Flood damage appraisers
- Water damage appraisers
By selecting an experienced appraiser, you can give yourself the best possible chance of receiving a fair outcome.
How to Hire an Insurance Claim Appraiser in Texas
We’ve established the importance of finding the right insurance appraiser. But how do you find the right insurance appraiser?
ClaimsMate is a licensed Texas public adjuster company with extensive experience in all aspects of property insurance claims. Our public adjusters have helped customers in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and all other large and small communities across the state of Texas.
We provide qualified insurance claim appraisers in Texas to serve you in the appraisal process for your dispute.
Many of our adjusters and appraisers have specific experience relevant to Texas policyholders. They have served as property damage, tornado damage, water damage, flood damage, wind damage, roof damage, and fire damage appraisers, for example. Our appraisers have also served as commercial property damage appraisers during commercial property damage appraisals.
What Does a Property Insurance Appraiser Do?
After hiring an insurance appraiser, the appraiser will get to work. Some of the core duties performed by an insurance appraiser during a public appraisal include:
Investigate and evaluate your insurance claim
Determine whether your insurance policy covers the loss claimed
Decide the appropriate amount the insurance company should pay for the loss
Ensure that the claim is not fraudulent
Contact associates, coworkers, doctors, employers, contractors, the police, and others to get additional information about a questionable claim
Consult with lawyers on claims if needed
Maintain claims files, including a record of settled claims and an inventory of claims requiring detailed analysis
Negotiate a final settlement with the appraiser hired by your insurance company
If a disagreement cannot be reached, pass the case off to the appraisal umpire for a final verdict
Overall, an appraiser’s goal is to investigate, evaluate, and provide valuations on property damage to help settle insurance claims.
Some specialize in a specific area of insurance – like commercial, business, and residential insurance. Others specialize in a specific type of damage – like hail, roof, wind, flood, or hurricane damage.
Insurance Appraiser Fees in Texas: How Much Does an Insurance Appraiser Cost?
Insurance appraisers will outline their fees upfront. By invoking the appraisal process with your insurance company, both parties agree to pay for their own insurance appraiser, then split the remaining costs of the appraisal and umpire between both parties equally.
The cost of hiring an appraiser can vary widely depending on the location, type of property and the property damage that occurred. The average cost for an appraiser performing a home property damage appraisal is between $1,000 – $5,000.
Typically, insurance appraisers are hired for larger disputes – say, if you and your insurance company are more than $5,000 or $10,000 apart. For smaller disputes, the outcome of an appraisal may not be worth the cost.
Pros and Cons of Insurance Appraisal
Insurance appraisal is a crucial part of the insurance industry. When two sides cannot reach an agreement on the value of a claim, then the policyholder may invoke the appraisal clause.
- Insurance appraisal could be the best way to resolve a significant claim dispute with your insurance company.
- You can add significant value to your claim without the added time and expense of prolonged litigation.
- The terms of invoking an appraisal are already written into your insurance contract. It’s a well-established process used by policyholders across Texas every year.
- You can earn every penny legally owed to you by your insurance company for your claim.
- You can prevent an insurance company from dragging its feet, denying your claim for no good reason, or engaging in other problematic tactics.
- The disputed difference needs to be significant for the claims process to be worthwhile. If you and your insurance company disagree about $5,000, for example, then the appraisal fees alone could take up any proceeds even if the appraisers rule in your favor.
- There are no guarantees about the outcome of an appraisal. Once a decision has been reached – either by the appraisers or the umpire – that decision is final. There are limited ways to challenge this final decision, change the award, or receive further compensation.
- Some appraisals can take a long time. You may spend months waiting for the other side to choose an appraiser, perform an thorough appraisal, negotiate, and then finally receive a decision from the appraisal umpire.
- It can be difficult to find impartial appraisers willing to work for the policyholder (and it’s often easier for your insurance company to find an impartial appraiser).
- Impartial appraisal umpires can be difficult to find, and they need to be approved by the insurance carrier’s appraiser.
Final Advice on the Insurance Claim Appraisal Clause
The insurance appraisal clause process, when used correctly, is an effective tool for settling insurance claim disputes.
By hiring a qualified and experienced insurance appraiser, you can give yourself the best possible chance of receiving a fair outcome to your claim.
By hiring an incompetent or unqualified appraiser, however, you could give your insurance company the upper hand.
Talk to ClaimsMate to hire an expert appraiser for your Texas insurance appraisal. Our public adjusters have serve as appraisers on claims in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and all other large and small cities in Texas. We’re dedicated to helping you receive a fair outcome by providing the best insurance appraisals in Texas.