An appraisal award is the amount of money an insurance company deems sufficient and fair to cover the costs of damage to property following an accident or an act of nature that damages your property. If, for example, a tornado damaged the roof of your home, an appraiser will assess the damage on behalf of your insurance company, determine how much damage the storm did to your roof, and give your insurance company an amount for a settlement.
Awards are made by an independent appraiser, who acts alone in appraising the damage. If you have received an appraisal award and are dissatisfied with the amount, you may want to appeal. Unfortunately, there are only a few circumstances when an appeal can be made, including:
- Bias if there was a conflict of interest
- The award was made as a result of fraud
- The award was made mistakenly or was an accident
While those are very tough circumstances to prove, that doesn’t mean that you should accept an appraisal award if you believe the award is a mistake. In order to appeal an appraisal award, the burden of proof is on the party seeking the appeal.
But gathering information surrounding the appraisal award and what went into the decision-making process can help you in that regard.
If you are dissatisfied with your award, attempt to obtain as much information as possible about what factors determined the final numbers, even though there is usually a lack of transparency on the part of appraisal panels. If your appraisal award seems incorrect to you, try to obtain as much information as you can about the basis for the award. Keep track of everything your appraiser says to you or sends you so you have some leverage if you decide to go ahead with an appeal. In some cases, an appraisal will seem low because the appraiser based his or her figures on materials that were of lesser value than those that were originally used in your home, which could give you room to challenge the appraisal.
An appeal will still be tricky, however, and you shouldn’t do it alone. In order to appeal an appraisal award, it’s important to have an attorney on your side who can help you fight your insurance company if you disagree with the initial decision made by the appraiser.
The Florida-based Monfiston Firm, P.A. is experienced in handling homeowner’s insurance claims, and it has the staff needed to go head-to-head against large insurance firms and fight for your rights. For more information or for an appointment, call us at 888-988-FIRM.