What is Proof of Loss in a Fire Damage Claim?
If you have recently submitted a fire damage claim to your insurance company, your adjuster will likely require you to fill out a Proof of Loss form. This is a legal document that specifies the amount of monetary damage to property and belongings.
When Should You Submit Proof of Loss?
Your insurance adjuster will provide a deadline for the form. This date is important. If you miss your deadline, it can cause delays in your settlement or even be reason enough to deny the claim all together.
Generally, you will have 60 days to submit your Proof of Loss Form, but this can be longer or shorter depending on your specific policy. If you are having difficulty meeting your deadline, you can typically request a formal extension via your insurance adjuster.
How to Fill Out the Proof Of Loss Form
Review Your Policy
Before you submit the form, it is a good idea to request a certified copy of your insurance policy from your adjuster. Review the Conditions section, and in particular your “Duties After Loss.” This section will stipulate what specific information must be included on your Proof of Loss form, as well as any additional deadlines to keep in mind.
Determine Your Claim Value
Your Proof of Loss Form will include a place to specify a “claim value.” This is the amount you are requesting they pay to replace/repair damaged property.
You will want to be as accurate and thorough as possible when determining the claim value you report on your Proof of Loss Form. Specific losses should be itemized and their value calculated based on supporting documentation.
This is best done by a professional. While you may have some idea as to the value of damages incurred, the average policyholder is inexperienced when it comes to the complete scope of damages and the time it takes to document them. A professional can help streamline the process and make sure your claim value is fair.
Your insurance company may send your adjuster to help estimate damages and gather documentation. However, you may wish to hire one or two fire claim professionals outside of your insurance company to ensure the most accurate claim value possible.
Fill in the Form and Get it Notarized
Once you have gathered your documentation and determined your claim value, fill in the additional information requested on the form. This is typically basic contact info, your insurance policy, date of loss, etc.
While many policies do not require it, it is a good idea to have your Proof of Loss Form notarized. This is easily done at most courthouses, banks, and some public mailing services, like UPS. You will sign and date the document in the presence of a notary, who will then certify the document with a stamp.
What Is a Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss?
In some cases, your insurance policy may request a Sworn Statement from you. This is generally a statement in writing that swears to the accuracy of your claim. Your policy will likely have a disclaimer saying that the company has the legal right to ask this of you.
In the event you are required to submit a sworn statement, it is a good idea to review your wording with an insurance attorney. Unintended errors in a sworn statement can be used to delay a claim or reduce settlement amounts, so it is important that it is worded carefully.
Help Filing a Fire Damage Claim
Insurance policies can be confusing, and accuracy is key in obtaining a fair settlement. If you are finding it difficult to understand your policy, or you are unsure of how to proceed, the Roth Group is here to help. We specialize in assisting policyholders receive their settlement payouts in a timely manner so they can focus on their families and recovery. Call our office today or go online to schedule your free consultation.