The Settlement Option

Sign away any price difference between us and your insurer just by letting a third-party try to get us paid in full.

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What is Steel Image’s “settlement option?”

In summary, we will accept the results of a claim appraisal and resulting payments to settle a Steel Image repair bill, regardless of outcome. Your insurance policy almost certainly offers the same “dispute resolution” provision. This allows all parties to resolve all issues at the same time.

When our bill for contractor services is more expensive than insurance will pay, our clients can opt into a formal claim appraisal (explained below) to settle their bill and wash their hands of the cost difference.

In offering this solution, we are effectively providing an outside source to help get our own bill for services paid, and accept any cost or risk of the process. All you have to do is authorize it and occasionally help in some very minor way. Allowing us to pursue full payment, including appraisal, is a part of our standard repair agreement.

  • We will find a qualified and available appraiser in our extended network
  • We will generate all necessary paperwork
  • We will relay all documentation and accounts of what happened to your insurer.
  • We will adjust our bill total to whatever the appraisers determine is the cost of that work.
  • We will pay the bill to appraise the cost of repairs we are performing or have completed.

Steel Image utilizes the same industry-standard estimating software and pricing that insurance companies use, but insurers often don’t want to pay for proper services every customer expects, such as building code compliance, professional supervision, proper construction techniques, property cleanup, and landscape protection.

This option provides us with the ability to complete robust and full-quality repairs without having to upcharge you out of pocket for the necessary costs that insurance is refusing, or delay the work for months trying to convince insurance to add those amounts beforehand. These are the issues that plague our competition, but not us!


What is the extended appraiser network?

The network is a way to give access to our list of known qualified appraisers in your area who don’t work for Steel Image. This is critical for our “Settlement Option” because an appraiser must be a neutral third party to your claim, meaning our personnel cannot also be hired to appraise your claim if we are already hired as your contractor.

What is an insurance claim appraisal?

An insurance claim appraisal allows you to remove an uncooperative insurance company from the conversation and bring in third parties to settle the cost to repair your property. Your insurer just requires a properly-worded written demand which is generated when you sign up for the service.

In summary, you select an appraiser (automatically), the insurance company selects an appraiser, and the two appraisers agree on a third appraiser (called an umpire) to act as a tie-breaker if needed. When two of the three agree on a price for all damages and repairs, your final claim total is set and payment is issued.

Most appraisals result in an insurance payout which is many times the cost of the service, making it a viable solution for us to get our bills paid.


What happens when I sign up?

By signing up for the appraisal network/settlement option, our system will identify a qualified and available appraiser in your area and generate all of the necessary documents needed, then email you copies. This appraiser will handle nearly all of the insurance interactions until a settlement is reached.

Your involvement is most often limited to a couple of initial confirmations when they call or email. They need only know that you initiated the appraisal, so no other party can demand this on your behalf. If you receive objections about appraisal from your insurer (common), just reach out to your appraiser for response suggestions.

We suggest deferring to email because insurers occasionally ask prying questions and make false objections in an attempt to justify not cooperating. After all, appraisal removes their power and hands it to unbiased third parties. Their only hope is to hired biased individuals who serve their interests, or avoid appraisal altogether.

The most common example of feigned objection is intentionally misinterpreting the requirement to “pay your own appraiser” as meaning your contractor can’t pay the bill for you. That stipulation was intended just to clarify that you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your appraiser is paid, and specifically that the insurer will not pay your appraiser’s bill.

While such objections may be unfounded, they can still make the process more difficult. It’s easiest just to avoid such traps by not answering their questions, or by confirming you understand you are responsible for ensuring your appraiser is paid and not the insurance company.

Are there any disclaimers?

In summary, assume that any other party who has offered to pay for your claim’s appraisal will only do so if they are the beneficiary of the resulting repair work and insurance funds.

If you or your repair provider have no intention completing certain individual repairs within the full scope of work, the amount of the appraiser’s bill related to those individual repairs will fall to you. There may also be work which is technically approved within your claim, but which is not funded realistically and the work cannot be completed by us. In both situations, the funds pertaining to that work that our company will not be completing will be returned to you, but so will the appraiser’s bill to get those items added to your claim.

Even in these less-than-optimal situationd, you will still be the recipient of more claim funds than the cost of the appraisal service. Most appraisers can easily separate-out such additional items, allowing each of us to pay for the costs related to the benefits we receive.

You, the property owner, are always the entity who hires an appraiser and are always responsible for ensuring the bill gets paid. When we offer to pay for this service, we are offering to pay your bill for you. If our relationship breaks down for any reason, such as if we are not allowed to complete the resulting repairs and receive the associated funds, we will not pay your appraiser bill, and the appraisers will seek to collect payment from you as their contracted hiring party.

This is a necessary protection for our company, as past clients have tried to run with the insurance money and also believed we would still pay the appraiser’s bill.

Here are the four possible scenarios from the perspective that Steel Image is your contractor. Other contractors may handle these scenarios differently:

The appraisal goes nowhere or otherwise doesn’t increase.

We will pay this appraiser bill because you did not receive a resulting payment, and were likely led here by our suggestion.


The repairs are complete and the appraisal resulted in additional payments.

We will pay this appraiser bill upon receipt of the new funds since we are the beneficiary.


A system (roof, siding, etc…) is fully approved and we will be completing the work.

We will pay this appraiser bill upon receipt of the new funds since we are the beneficiary.


A repair was only partially approved and did not yield enough to cover the repairs.

We are not able to pay this bill since you are the beneficiary. The appraisal has likely netted a payment of hundreds or thousands of dollars more than the cost of the appraiser, but does not result in funds for work we have completed or will perform.


*The exception to this rule would be a situation where you would like to fund the rest of the system out of pocket.


Our bill for completed work or a major repair was fully approved but you refuse to remit payment or let us complete the newly approved repairs.

We will not pay the appraiser fees until payment is received for work have completed or will perform.


These specific situations would also be breaches of our Replacement Work Agreement, resulting in formal collection of the new funds that were issued to satisfy our repair bill, and possibly a cancellation fee if we were led to believe that we would receive the additional work in exchange for our cooperation within the appraisal.

No scenario where you are cooperative with us can result in a net loss to you. The new funds resulting from the appraisal will always be more than the cost of the appraiser. Utilizing appraisal is the easiest decision in the entire claim process.

The only way any of this can become a net loss is if you try to run with the money or otherwise refuse our bill or services after we acquire approval from your insurer. In the event of collections, our contract stipulates that you will be responsible for court and legal fees. This often inflates the bill by 50-100%.

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We Compile All Loss Info

Appraisers Investigate

Appraisal Award Sets Claim Total


Insurance Issues Payment

Helpful Appraisal Facts

  • Appraisal is meant to be a last resort to avoid court or giving up on your claim. If you’re holding a bill and insurance won’t pay it, its time for appraisal.
  • It is not a legal proceeding. The rules are written into one paragraph in your policy.
  • Occasionally, an insurer will not cooperate and a court may be needed to force them.
  • Every insurer treats appraisal differently. Some cooperate, and some don’t.
  • The insurer’s appraiser holds half the power, often making for mixed results.
  • The process regularly takes 1-3 months and is typically put on hold during the winter months.
  • Only the property owner can hire an insurance loss appraiser. Your contractor cannot.
  • Awards are final. Once awarded, there are no ongoing negotiations.
  • Insurers typically do not hire unbiased, cooperative appraisers. That would be too easy.
  • The insurer will often try to refuse, ignore, or talk you out of appraisal with scare tactics.
  • Payment for the awarded amount is not guaranteed. Some awarded items may not be insured.