I have a fire claim from the Creek Fire and Skirball fire with State Farm. I submitted my claim and the carrier gave me an estimate that was low. After I couldn’t get them to pay more, I tried to invoke the appraisal clause in my policy, but the insurer rejected my request stating that I cannot compel them to appraisal because the fires are a Government declared natural disaster. How can they use a clause that is meant to help insureds against them? They’ve stonewalled me
We’re so sorry to hear this but you have options. You can contact the California Department of Insurance and try two things: 1) Request to participate in a mediation. 2) File a Consumer Request for Assistance (complaint) that the insurer is failing to make reasonable attempts to resolve the claim dispute. You can create a paper trail that clearly shows why appraisal makes sense and would be the fast, cost-effective way to resolve the dispute. Take that to a qualified policyholder attorney and discuss with them the fact that the insurer is violating CA laws that require them to attempt to settle claims fairly. You’ve probably heard the phrase “bad faith” – it means unreasonable conduct by an insurance company. So if they’re refusing to go to appraisal without a good reason, that gives you evidence that they’re acting in bad faith. The reason appraisal was made optional in a declared disaster is that insurers were abusing the process after the Northridge EQ and costing insureds a fortune by treating the appraisal like a trial – spending $$$ on experts, depositions, court reporters – defeating the purpose of the process. Our Find Help Directory is a good place to find experienced bad faith attorneys. Good luck!