Sustaining storm damage to your house can be devastating. Everything you’ve worked to build for yourself can feel like it’s slipped away in an instant. Having to deal with the insurance company and on top of everything else can make it all the more difficult.

In many cases, the insurance adjustor will offer far less than you think you’re entitled to, but luckily, many policyholders have an insurance appraisal clause in their policy which allows them to get a second opinion. Since the insurance appraisal process can be costly and time-consuming, however, it’s important to be sure that it’s worth the expense to call in an expert before you invoke the clause.

How Does the Insurance Appraisal Process Work?

If either you or your insurance company invokes the insurance appraisal clause, each party will select its own appraiser. Both appraisers will then conduct an independent valuation of the claim damages, after which they will meet and attempt to come to an agreement on a fair claim amount. If they cannot reach an agreement, then the two claims are presented to a neutral umpire, who the appraisers select together at the start of the process. Both you and your insurance company will pay your own appraiser, and you will split the cost of the umpire.

Is an Insurance Appraisal Worth It?

The insurance appraisal is a great way to hold a greedy insurance company to account, but it may not always be worth it to invoke the appraisal clause. The cost of the appraiser and 50 percent of the umpire’s fee may end up neutralizing any potential financial benefit that you would get from the process. In addition, the appraisal process can be time-consuming, particularly when it comes to selecting an umpire. An additional concern is that the appraisal may actually come in at less than the insurance company was originally offering—although this outcome is rare.

However, there are certainly cases where it makes sense to invoke the clause. If you and the insurance company differ substantially when it comes to both the scope of repairs needed and the price of the repairs, then it is probably a good idea to begin the insurance appraisal process. In addition, if the insurance company seems to be stonewalling you, or is otherwise not returning your communication, this may be an indicator that something is wrong and that invoking the clause is your best bet.

There is no hard and fast rule for knowing when to ask for an insurance appraisal. Every situation is different, with its own unique set of circumstances. Therefore, consulting with an experienced real estate appraiser is the only way to be sure that you’re making the right decision. Whether or not you decide to go through with an appraisal for insurance purposes, you can rest easy knowing you did everything you could to protect yourself, your family, and your home.

Have a Question for the Appraisal Experts?

At Appraisals Unlimited, we have many years of experience conducting insurance appraisals. Give us a call at 781-449-7600 or email us at to find out more.