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You can always challenge the valuation that the insurance company arrives at. Insurance companies will generally ask you to provide documentation to back up the reason for your disagreement. Insurance companies then review the documentation for accuracy and applicability to the total loss vehicle. If there is still disagreement, state law and the terms of your policy describe how an appraisal process will resolve the differences.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s valuation of your vehicle, you have the right to an objective, third party determination of value of that vehicle. In fact, the law requires that each side hire their own appraiser. Your insurance company will hire an appraiser to appraise your vehicle. If you do not hire your own appraiser, then the insurance company will pay you what they deem is appropriate. In effect, you will be stuck with the insurance company’s valuation of your vehicle. Potentially, this could even mean less than the original offer.
Once both appraisers (yours and the insurance company’s) have compiled their reports, they try to reach an agreement on the value of your vehicle before scheduling a formal appraisal hearing. If the appraisers are unable to agree, then a third party called an “evaluation umpire” will then listen to both sides and make a determination as to which appraiser is right about the vehicle’s value.
State law requires both sides to share the cost of an appraisal hearing equally. In most cases, an appraisal hearing costs about $500 ($250 per side), which goes to pay the evaluation umpire.