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Not so Fast! Insurance Appraisals in North Carolina

If you’re facing resistance from your insurance carrier on a property claim in North Carolina, you probably have a number of questions, including: How long is this going to take? The answer will, of course, vary by case, but it could end up taking a long time, and it could be surprisingly costly.

The vast majority of real property insurance policies in North Carolina contain a provision for what is called “appraisal”. An appraisal can be invoked when you and the insurer disagree regarding the value of a loss. Note, however, that a disagreement over the value of a loss is not the same as determining whether or not a given loss is covered under the policy.

When appraisal is invoked, the insurer and insured each select an appraiser, and the appraisers work together to see if an agreement can be reached regarding the value. They will often go through detailed line items of estimates for how much it will cost to properly repair or replace the damaged property. If the appraisers disagree, then they must select an “umpire”, who will then review positions and take a side in the dispute, and that will produce the ultimate value of the loss under the policy.

Because the insurer and insured must each pay their appraisers separately, and must split the cost of the umpire, this can be an extremely costly process because each of these parties will charge an hourly rate–sometimes several hundred dollars an hour–for their services. The process is also time consuming, sometimes taking up to a year, so an insured must think carefully about how to dispute a claim, especially if you’re better off avoiding appraisal. On the other hand, sometimes it can be a great tool to expose a carrier who’s taken a bad faith position on a large coverage item.

If you’re working on a large-scale property insurance claim, and wondering whether appraisal should be invoked in your matter, you should call the insurance claim lawyers at Asheville Legal today. We have the expertise and knowledge to guide you through all aspects of the claim handling process and to maximize the value of your claim.

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