Proof of Loss Form Basics
A Proof of Loss form is a legal document. A Proof of Loss is a formal declaration made by you, the insured, regarding a claim so that your insurance company, the insurer, may determine its liability under your insurance policy. A Proof of Loss is the sworn statement of the insured required by the Conditions of the insurance policy. It sets forth your knowledge and belief as to the date, time, cause of the loss; the encumbrances on the property; the persons with an interest in the property; the value of the property; the amount of loss; and the amount of claim.
The process to complete a Proof of Loss is not simple nor is it always straight forward. You may retain the services of a Public Adjuster to help prepare a Proof of Loss. If you are required to submit a Proof of Loss form there are a few basic things you must know if you want your claim to settle quickly and get paid every penny you are entitled to collect.
Importance of Proof of Loss Form
A Proof of Loss form is often the most important document in the property claims process. How your claim is handled is often determined by your Proof of Loss — when and how you submitted the form, what sources you used for the information, the detail of the inventory, and whether your claim is accepted, delayed, or denied.
Your Proof of Loss form is required to be filed by a specific date or your claim could be denied. PageData can help you review your policy to determine your specific requirement. Typically you will have 60 days after the insurance company requests a Proof of Loss Claim. You can request an extension of time to file from your insurance company, but you should do so by Certified Mail with Return Receipt for your records. Make sure you provide accurate information in your claim. Do not try to “pad” your losses or put down items that you did not own pre-loss. If you misrepresent information in your Proof of Loss, your whole claim can be denied.
Get a Second Opinion of Your Proof of Claim
You need to submit an accurate inventory of your loss with supporting documentation (such as repair price quotes, receipts, photographs of your personal property, prior appraisals, current prices, etc.). Obtain a second or third opinion from a qualified and licensed expert (such as a licensed Public Adjuster or a licensed general contractor) not associated with your insurance company. A licensed contractor is not a disinterested third party in obtaining cash for losses and is not legally authorized to negotiate your insurance claim. Many people think of the large Personal Property items such as beds, dressers, desks, couches, tables, chairs, televisions, computers, and jewelry, but not all the small items in a household such as clothing, linens, toiletries, kitchenware, spices, sundries, tools, Christmas decorations, etc. You will need to know if your insurance policy covers replacement cost value (current prices) or actual cash value (cost minus depreciation) for various parts of your claim.
Double check that you have all the required information for your Proof of Loss Claim so it does not get delayed or rejected by the insurance company. It needs to be signed by you, dated, and notarized. Include your insurance policy number and claim number, policy term, and date of loss.
Let the Experts Help
When you have a claim it is an emotionally difficult time. You are under a lot of stress. You have your own job and life responsibilities along with dealing with your insurance company and contractors to get back to your pre-loss condition. Hire a professional, licensed Public Adjuster to assist you and obtain all that is due you under your insurance policy. It is best to use a Public Adjuster early in the process, but we can assist you even after your claim has been denied or underpaid. Our services are free if we do not win you a larger claim settlement.