What You Should Know About the Proof of Loss Form

If you have damages to your property that are related to your household items, you might need to complete additional paperwork for your insurance company to detail these situations. This is known as a Proof of Loss form for most carriers. It is your job as the claimant on the policy to complete this as quickly and as accurately as possible. Many mistakes could occur on this form that could jeopardize your ability to recover the damages you are entitled to under your policy. 

The Proof of Loss statement form may come up in a variety of different ways in your insurance claim. In general, this is a sworn statement that is usually also signed by a notary about the losses that you suffered in a specific incident. This is your formal request for the amount that you are claiming after a covered and insured event. Practically all insurance companies will require you to submit the Proof of Loss statement form when you have had a loss occur. This helps to document the circumstances, as you have told it, to the insurance company and will be used as part of the overall record for your total insurance claim. This means that it is extremely important to understand the Proof of Loss statement form and how it can influence your recovery.

If you’re currently dealing with a Proof of Loss form and you have questions about it, you might want to hire an insurance lawyer to guide you through making these updates or submitting further evidence. You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches in doing so, especially if you have a large claim amount and you’re worried about the insurance company arguing with you or denying your claim verifications. 

Problems With a Proof of Loss Form

If you do not submit a Proof of Loss statement form when your insurance company asks that you do, your claim could be delayed or denied altogether. Some insurance companies do not automatically require the submission of the Proof of Loss statement form as part of their claims procedure, but they still maintain the right to request it based on their discretion.

A Proof of Loss form helps to substantiate any damages that you suffered due to an insurance-covered event. The insurance policy itself and this document are used together to determine whether or not the insurance company has liability. Even if every insurance company does not mandate the submission of a Proof of Loss statement form following a covered event, there are certain circumstances in which one might be required. This includes suspected fraud, questionable causes of damage or high-claim amounts. You need to be prepared to review the Proof of Loss statement form and to submit it as accurately and quickly as possible to protect your right to submit this claim.

The sooner that you can speak to a lawyer about the Proof of Loss statement form, the easier it will be for you to navigate the insurance coverage process. Most people who submit documentation such as the Proof of Loss statement form, and any pictures or videos, assume that it will be relatively easy to work with their insurance company. Many learn after the fact that it is not so simple to work with their insurance carrier and that mistakes or omissions on the Proof of Loss statement form can cost them significant money.

How to Complete a Proof of Loss Form

Make sure you review the Proof of Loss statement form in full before you start filling it out. The information that will be required for it is typically also mentioned in your insurance policy, so you can check the specific paperwork against your policy documents. It is usually listed under the section about Duties After a Loss.

Some of the most common pieces of information that need to be submitted on this form include the cause and date of the damage, the policy number under which this is allegedly covered, any people who have a financial interest in the claim like a mortgage holder, estimates to repair damage as a result of property problems, the replacement value of any items that were destroyed or damaged, loss evidence and documentation that supports the amount claimed. If you do not have all of the information requested by your insurance company, or you're not sure how to fill out the form, don't make assumptions. It is a far better opportunity to speak directly to the insurance carrier about their Proof of Loss statement form and ask whether or not you should submit it partially completed. It is always better to provide more information rather than less, even when this is not always possible. This is why you might want to hire an experienced and knowledgeable insurance lawyer who can help support you through this process and help you get the necessary details.

One of the most common problems that homeowners face, for example, is that they may not have some of the evidence in the form of receipts for destroyed or damaged items. Ask your insurance company if taking a picture of the item and submitting additional details, such as the year you bought it, would be helpful. Don't leave any fields blank and instead ask your insurance company if there is some other form of evidence you can submit in the place of a receipt.

This can also be more complicated if a homeowner is submitting property damage claims for something that was completely destroyed, such as during a house fire. In those incidents, insurance companies will ask specifics about the case and handle them on a case by case basis. Make sure that you talk to your insurance adjuster so that you're clear about what might be required for you and whether any special circumstances might apply. For example, the insurance company might have you type up and sign a statement, explaining what was damaged in a particular room. Some insurance companies will take your word for it if the claim is reasonable. If most of the furniture inside your house was in relatively good shape and purchased recently, a sworn statement testifying to this is much more likely to be approved than someone who did not have special coverage for thousands of dollars worth of antiques that they claim was going to be covered by this loss.

Proof is the name of the game when it comes to the Proof of Loss statement form so make sure you talk to your insurance adjuster to see if there's anything else they might need. It is important to submit your Proof of Loss statement form as soon as possible but no later than any date that is specified inside your insurance coverage policy. Often, this is a maximum of 60 days after the incident that caused the insurance claim in the first place. If you are unable to gather all of the evidence in time, talk to your insurance company about the possibility of getting an extension.

Your insurance company is not required to accept the Proof of Loss form as you have submitted it. If you do not comply with their requirements or provide enough details, they can reject it. Your insurance company can choose to reject your Proof of Loss form if you did not complete the form correctly, if you failed to submit any supporting documentation, if the signature wasn't notarized or the document wasn't signed at all, or if you did not answer any or all of the questions. Not all insurance companies might require a Proof of Loss form, but it is standard to find one at some point in the insurance process. The more you can fill out this piece of paper in an accurate manner, the easier it will be for you to get the benefits that are provided under your policy.

Some of the most common reasons for problems with Proof of Loss statements include not knowing the laws in your state, missing the deadline to submit this paperwork and not knowing your policy requirements.

Your policy is key to who owes what and when. Sometimes there are policy provisions in place in your individual state, and failing to know these could block you from important benefits. If your Proof of Loss submission is required within a specific number of days after the incident has occurred, you want to submit by this deadline and make sure you ask for an extension if you cannot meet it. And finally, you need to review the policy requirements to determine whether or not there are other things you need to do to successfully settle your claim.

Ample proof is one of the cornerstones of submitting documents like this to protect your interests. Make sure that you talk to a dedicated lawyer as soon as possible about your rights and get the support that you need when submitting a Proof of Loss statement form. This is important for your ability to recover compensation and move on with your life.

For a free case evaluation, contact the experts at Morgan & Morgan to get started.