When an unprecedented disaster strikes or unexpected events occur, your property will likely incur some devastating damages. As a property owner, taking an insurance cover is one way to ensure that you’re protected against such occurrences. However, when you pend a signature to accept a given insurance policy, you’ll be required to comply with a set of post-loss requirements for your sudden or accidental loss to be covered. One of the most enumerated post-loss obligations for any policyholder is to file a proof of loss. If you want to know what proof of loss is, why it is essential and how to fill it out, don’t stop reading.
Proof of Loss Defined
Proof of loss document is a formal, notarized statement that a policyholder is required to fill and file with an insurance company when a loss occurs. It is a document that initiates the claim-making process by outlining the essential details about the property damage. It’s a legally sworn statement that a policyholder sends to an insurer, giving them a sneak peek of the loss. It is a one-page summary that incorporates critical information required by the insurer to appraise the scope of the damage in a given property.
What Should be Included in a Proof of Loss
The contents of the proof of loss vary from one insurance policy to the next. But typically, it contains the following:
- The property that was damaged
- The magnitude of the loss that a policyholder is claiming
- Evidence to support the value of the property and the amount of loss being claimed.
- Date and time when the loss occurred
- The event or incident that caused the loss
- Party/parties claiming the loss under the policy
- Policy number
When filing a proof of loss form, ensure that you have provided everything your insurance coverage requires. If you’re not sure, please contact your insurer since every company has its unique set of requirements. Once filled, the form is notarized or signed under the penalty of perjury so that lying can land you in trouble.
Why is a Proof of Loss Important?
Proof of loss allows the policyholder to inform the insurer about unprecedented damage. The insurer may decide if they want or won’t need the proof of loss, but it is a must for the insured to file it. It also features all the supporting evidence, including estimates, receipts, inventories, etc.
Things to Consider When Filing a Proof of Loss
Respect The Time Requirements
In most policies, policyholders must file proof of loss within a specified date, often 60 days. However, you must understand that your insurance may not send proof of loss form for you to fill immediately. So, you are the one to ask for it and do the necessary. Failure to adhere to the set time limit when filing your proof of loss may lead to the denial of your claim.
Accuracy And Truthfulness Are Essential
When filling out the proof of loss form, you need to provide accurate figures and documents. You need to provide factual information that is supported by evidence. Inaccurate or misrepresentation of information can lead to underpayment, delayed payment, or even denial of your claim and future coverage.
Prepare Detailed Estimates On The Damages Incurred.
The claim value you use in your proof of loss form is also very crucial. It sets the basis for negotiations and may end up being the amount the insurer offers to cover the loss. Therefore, before you fill out the form, make sure you itemize and detail the magnitude and severity of the damages accurately. Since most of these estimations are complicated, you might need to hire a professional to help you substantiate, analyze, estimate, and collect the supporting evidence for your claim.
Proof of loss is a simple way to tell your insurer that you swear by the chronology of events and the information you provided about the claim. It performs the role of informing the insurance company about a loss, the extent of the damage, and the exact time when the damage occurred. Therefore, this document should be factual, accurate, and flawlessly prepared.