While you certainly have the right to bring a lawsuit against your insurance carrier, you may have other, less expensive and less time-consuming options. For example, your insurance policy may give you the right to demand an appraisal hearing to resolve a dispute with your insurance carrier over the value of the insurance claim. An appraisal hearing is a non-judicial method to resolve disputes over the amount of an insured loss. The purpose of an appraisal hearing is to provide policyholders with a plain, speedy, inexpensive, and just determination of the extent of the loss.
If your policy contains an appraisal clause, then you can make a written demand to your insurance company for an appraisal hearing. You will then need to select an appraiser to represent you on the appraisal panel. Your insurance company will also select an appraiser to represent it. The two appraisers then jointly select an umpire to preside over the appraisal hearing.
Appraisal hearings typically occur within 1-2 months of the demand. Depending on the complexity of the matter, an appraisal hearing can last from a few hours to a few days. At the appraisal hearing, you and your insurance carrier will both have an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence to the appraisal panel. After it hears all of the evidence, the appraisal panel determines the value of the loss and issues an award.
You are entitled to have an attorney represent you and present witnesses and evidence on your behalf at the appraisal hearing. Our attorneys have represented numerous insureds in appraisal hearings, and understand how to present a strong and persuasive argument on behalf of our clients.
We invite you to contact us to discuss whether we can assist you in resolving your dispute with your insurance carrier.