What is appraisal in homeowners insurance in California?

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Homeowners policies may require “appraisal.” Here’s what it is and what it means.

An appraisal is an informal hearing and is an example of ADR, or alternative dispute resolution. The insured (you) is generally responsible for showing the actual cash value (“ACV”) of the damaged property. If the insurer (your insurance company) disputes the ACV, then an appraisal may be used to resolve that dispute. Appraisals are generally subject to arbitration rules. So although there’s informality, there are still rules to follow.

California Insurance Code § 2071 provides that, if there’s a dispute, then either the insured or the insurer can request appraisal to determine the ACV. Once requested, the insured and the insurer select their own appraisers, whose only responsibility is to determine the ACV of items submitted to them. Remember, they cannot determine questions of coverage.

Both appraisers then select an umpire. Next, there’s a hearing where the insurer and insured put forward their experts or consultants before the two appraisers and the umpire. Once the hearing is concluded, two of the three decision-makers (the appraisers and umpire) agree on the ACV. Then the insurer must pay the insured that ACV.

If your insurance company refuses to pay you ACV and requests appraisal, you’re forced to incur expenses and likely hire a lawyer to go through the appraisal process and obtain what arguably you should have been paid in the first place.

Questions? Contact Me for a free consultation.

Evan Walker

Evan W. Walker is a La Jolla attorney who has practiced law since 2008. He is licensed to practice in California, Connecticut, and Louisiana. His entire practice has been in litigation.

Evan is from a small town outside of New Orleans. He attended law school in New Orleans, which was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. After evacuating to Houston, Evan graduated in 2008 as part of the ‘Hurricane Katrina Class.’

After graduation, Evan worked for a New Orleans insurance defense firm. He defended insurance companies against Hurricane Katrina lawsuits brought by homeowners and business owners.

In 2010, he and his wife moved to New Haven, Connecticut, so his wife could complete a medical residency at Yale. During the next few years, Evan worked for Travelers Insurance Company defending countless personal injury lawsuits.

In 2014, he moved to San Diego so his wife could complete a medical fellowship at UCSD. He then opened his own firm to represent people after years of defending insurance companies.

Evan is a Featured Faculty at Attorney Credits, a CLE company, and a regular contributor to various podcasts and publications. He has also been interviewed by San Diego television stations about his cases and practice.

Evan spent almost a decade as a defense attorney who defended insurance companies from personal injury and property damage lawsuits. He knows how insurance companies bully people and deny claims. And he knows how to fight them.

Bar Admissions: California Connecticut (inactive) Louisiana (inactive)

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