What Is a Proof of Loss Form?
A Proof of Loss form is typically a notarized, sworn statement detailing the losses you suffered and the amount you’re claiming after an insured event.
Most but not all insurance companies require this document after an insurance claim has been filed. Some insurers might not automatically require it as part of the claims process but can request it at their discretion.
Failing to submit a Proof of Loss form when requested to do so might cause your insurance company to delay or deny your claim.
What Is the Purpose of a Proof of Loss Form?
A Proof of Loss form helps to substantiate the damages you suffered after an insured event. Your insurance company uses this information in conjunction with your insurance policy as a basis for determining their liability.
Even if an insurer doesn’t automatically require a Proof of Loss form, they might require one under certain circumstances. These include:
- High claim amount.
- Questionable cause of damage.
- Suspected fraud.
Information You'll Need For a Proof of Loss Form
The information you’ll need for a Proof of Loss is typically mentioned in your insurance policy. For example, in many homeowners insurance policies it’s mentioned under “Duties After a Loss” (or similar wording).
It will usually include the following:
- Policy number.
- Date and cause of the damage.
- Parties with a financial interest in the claim such as your mortgage holder.
- Evidence of the loss, e.g. photos, receipts, police report, etc.
- Replacement value of items damaged or destroyed.
- Estimates to repair damage caused to the property.
- Documentation that supports the amount claimed.
What if You Don't Have All the Required Information?
If you don’t have all the information required by your insurance company or are unsure how to complete the form, talk to them. Don’t make assumptions or leave any fields blank that you’re unsure of.
A common problem with homeowners insurance claims is that you might not always have receipts for damaged or destroyed items. If the item is still recognizable after the event that caused the damage, taking a photo of it is often sufficient.
However, it might get complicated when an item was destroyed during a fire, for example. Insurance companies typically treat such incidents on a case-by-case basis.
For example, your insurance company might accept your sworn statement that your bedroom wardrobe was destroyed. It’s not unusual to find a wardrobe in a bedroom. But if you claim it was an expensive early 18th century antique wardrobe from France, you might have a problem. It’s going to be difficult to convince your insurance company without proof.
When Should You Submit Your Proof of Loss Form?
When required, you should file your Proof of Loss form as soon as possible but no later than the date specified in your insurance policy. It’s typically required within 60 days after the incident that led to your insurance claim.
If you won’t be able to file it on time, ask for an extension in advance.
Can Your Insurer Refuse to Accept Your Proof of Loss Form?
Your insurer can refuse to process your Proof of Loss form if you haven’t complied with their requirements. Typical reasons include the following:
- You didn’t complete the form correctly.
- You didn’t answer all the questions.
- You failed to submit supporting documentation.
- You didn’t sign the form or your signature wasn’t notarized.
Not all insurance companies require a Proof of Loss form. But when they do, it’s typically a sworn statement mentioning the losses you suffered and the amount you’re claiming after an insured event. It helps to substantiate the damages you suffered.
Managing an insurance claim, especially a large or complex one, can be onerous. Filing a Proof of Loss form is only one of the documents your insurance company might require. And filing the correct documentation is only a small part of the insurance claim process.
Avner Gat, Inc. has 15+ years of experience as a public adjuster in Southern California. We protect homeowners from the games and fine print that insurance companies are known for.
Call Avner now at (818) 917-5256 to find out how we can assist you.