What is a Proof of Loss?

What is a Proof of Loss?

By Wesley J. Farrell, Esq. 

After a loss, an insurance company will sometimes request that you complete and sign a form called a Proof of Loss. A proof of loss is a statement of the amount of money being requested in your insurance claim and it must be signed and notarized. A Proof of Loss is usually a one-page form (possibly with attachments) that is provided by your insurance company. Specifically, the purpose of a proof of loss is to provide the insurer with specific information pertaining to the formal claim of damages. The policy will determine what must be in a proof of loss and most often includes: the date and time the loss occurred, type of loss claimed, the available insurance policy limits, and the exact amount of damages sought.

In many instances, this information is the first documentation provided to the insurer which details the specifics of a claim. As such, it is in both the insurer and the policyholder’s, best interests to comply with the proof of loss requirements, so that the claims process can proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible. After the proof of loss is submitted by the insured, the insurer must review it and reply. The insurer may accept or reject the proof. While this will be discussed in more detail in later additions of this series, an insurer should only reject a proof of loss for technical reasons, such as the proof is not properly filled out, is missing supporting documentation, is not signed, or is not notarized.

The Proof of Loss form may also mandate that you attach any damage estimates or other calculations that support the policyholder’s claims. Please note that there are important time requirements that apply to the filing of a proof of loss. Generally, the insured must comply with these time requirements or risk the possibility that the insurer may attempt to deny the claim. For instance, most insurance policies require the policyholder to provide the signed proof of loss within 60 days of the insurance company’s request, but you should review your policy to be sure.

Wesley J. Farrell, Esq. writes:

“If your insurance company requests an executed Proof of Loss, you must comply with this request prior to filing suit against the insurance company or otherwise moving forward with the claim. If you fail or refuse to provide the signed Proof of Loss along with any other requested information to your insurance company, this can be seen as a “failure to cooperate” with the insurance company’s investigation of the loss and could become a complete bar to payment”

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