How to Handle a Home Insurance Claim Dispute

Home fire claim

If you ever need to make a home insurance claim, it will be important to have a detailed list or inventory of all your household possessions. Your up-to-date home inventory will help you get the best compensation for your home insurance claim.

Disputes with Your Home Insurance Claim

Sometimes, you and your insurance company simply don’t agree, as in a case like this:

You file an insurance claim following a fire or break-in at your home, but the dollar value of your claim comes under dispute. You think it’s worth more and the insurance adjuster thinks it’s worth less. You are now at an impasse, so the time has come to enquire about your legal rights.

Instead of a costly battle in court, take a look at what you are legally entitled to in your home insurance policy. Did you know that an appraisal clause is written into every homeowner’s insurance policy sold in Ontario?

Get an Appraisal

An appraisal is an alternative dispute resolution process that is incorporated in home insurance policies. An appraisal is made by a qualified expert who provides you with an unbiased professional opinion of your property’s estimated value.

If you’re interested in the appraisal process, the first step is to make a formal request. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the agency responsible for regulating insurance in the province, you have a right to an appraisal once you specifically demand it in writing, but it must come from you, the policyholder.

Your Appraisal vs. Their Appraisal

Once you receive your insurance company’s authorization, you can hire an expert at your own expense to perform a second appraisal. Your appraiser and the insurance company’s appraiser will then meet to try and reach a decision. If they cannot agree on the value of your claim, an umpire is called in, and the umpire costs are split between you and the insurer. The umpire will review both appraisals and determine a fair price for your insurance claim. Since this is a quasi-judicial process, the umpire’s decision is binding and you cannot appeal the decision in court later on.

Be Prepared for a Home Insurance Claim

For advice on how to protect your possessions and handling the home insurance claim process, talk to the insurance experts at Mitchell & Whale at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at We’d be happy to help you with any insurance questions or concerns.

Source: FSCO

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