How do I prepare a proof of loss for an insurance claim?

Q:

How do I prepare a proof of loss for an insurance claim?

A:

Let's start by talking going over what insurers mean by a proof of loss. The proof of loss form is a very important legal document that is part of the claims process for damaged property. It is a formal declaration that you make to the insurance company after you have filed a claim so that the insurance company can determine how much to indemnify you.

That sounds straightforward – and sometimes it is – but there are some things to be aware of. First, note that you cannot wait forever to file your proof of loss. There is usually a 60-day deadline for submitting it to the insurance company.

You will need to make a thorough audit of everything that was damaged. Accuracy and the origin of the information is paramount, so it helps to be organized. If your loss affected more than one part of your home, start by going from room to room, recording everything that was damaged in the loss. After that, dig into your old box of receipts, credit card statements, or any other source of information that will help you determine the dollar value of everything that was damaged. Be diligent when doing this – even small mistakes can lead to a rejection and delay your claims process. It is important that you know the amount of loss claimed as well as have documents to support that amount (find out How to File a Claim that Gets Filed Sooner).

Proof of loss forms may differ from insurance company to insurance company, but most of them will require that you outline the parties that are claiming the loss, the date and cause of the loss, as well as who might have financial interest in the claim. For example, if your home was damaged, the mortgage lender might have financial interest in your claim. This proof of loss document will also usually need to be signed and notarized – it is a legal document, after all.

Once that's done, you should submit it to your insurance company. If everything was completed properly, they should accept it and go on with processing your claim. If they find that you have not adequately fulfilled the proof of loss requirements, they will send it back for revision, so getting it right the first time will save you some trouble.

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio