Most jurisdictions provide that a disputed insurance loss can be resolved through the appraisal process. That process typically begins when either the insurance company or policyholder sends a written demand to the other invoking appraisal and naming their own appraiser. Once the written demand is sent, the other party usually has 15-20 days to respond and name their appraiser. The two appraisers will select a neutral umpire, which completes the “appraisal panel”: One appraiser for the insurance company, one for the policyholder, and a neutral umpire to resolve any disputes.
The appraisal panel’s role is to resolve the dispute and render a determination as to the total amount of disputed loss. Appraisal panels can typically resolve disputes involving the cause of loss, material matching, the price of repair, the scope of the damage, or other factual questions incidental to the loss. They cannot make legal determinations, such as whether the policy provides coverage.
For an example of what a written demand for appraisal might look like, see Example Appraisal Demand. While this simple demand meets the requirements to invoke appraisal in most jurisdictions, the appraisal process is a legal process and you should review your options carefully with a lawyer before initiating it.