Most appraisal clauses found in Florida insurance policies apply to disputes over “the amount of loss or damage.” It is widely known that appraisals may not resolve disputes over the insurance coverage. However, there are times when the line between coverage and the amount of the loss is difficult to see.
A frequent dispute seen commonly in appraisals involves whether the damage was covered or not covered and whether a court or appraisal panel should decide this question. Another frequently disputed issue in appraisals involves the “scope” and cost of repair. Not only is this a dispute of the amount of loss, but it often involves questions regarding what is covered by the insurance policy. For example, the policy may say that it provides “replacement cost” coverage, without defining what that means. As Appraisers are not allowed to interpret policy language, this can be very difficult for the inexperienced Appraiser. This is why it is advantageous to have an appraiser that is also a Florida licensed public insurance adjuster.
The bottom line is that debates often arise about what disputes are appropriate for appraisal, and what if any, issues are beyond the scope of appraisal. An experienced Appraiser will know how to assist you in preparing an appraisal agreement, using the correct language, so that all parties can confirm that the appraisal panel has the authority to make the decisions that it must make. Without this, an inexperienced appraiser could have his award vacated immediately after being signed, and also just after you paid his bill!