Insurance company adjusters often use the words “simple” and “straight forward” to describe a Proof of Loss form. A Proof of Loss is a legal document and most people would agree that simple is not a word synonymous with any kind of legal document.
So, what is a proof of loss? A proof of loss is a formal declaration made by the insured regarding a claim so that the insurer may determine its liability under the policy.
Experienced public adjusters will agree that the process to complete a proof of loss is not simple nor is it always straight forward, even for seasoned experts like us.
If you’ve been required to submit a Proof there are a few basic things you must know if you want your claim to quickly settle and get paid every penny you’re entitled to collect.
Here are 5 tips you should consider if you’ve been required to submit a proof of loss for a property insurance claim:
Know What You’re Dealing With. A Proof of Loss is often the most important document in the property claims process.When and how you submit the form, the accuracy and origin of the information and what you choose to include or exclude on the form will determine the remaining course of your claim. Payment. Underpayment. Delay. Or denial.Whether you have an insurance claim for fire damage, hurricane damage or another type of loss, the Proof is always an important component in the claims process.
Be Aware of Your Duties and ResponsibilitiesThe Proof of Loss is required to be filed by a specific date. Miss that date and your claim could be denied.Get a certified copy of your policy and locate the section titled “Section 1- Conditions, (2) Duties After Loss.” In this section the Proof requirements will be explained. Typically that time frame is 60 days, but 60 days after what? “60 days after our request,” or “60 days from the date of loss?” Your policy should specify.Being unaware, inept, non-compliant or waiting for your insurance company to tell you of your responsibilities regarding the Proof will jeopardize your claim.If you have difficulty understanding your insurance policy or if you need an extension to file your Proof, write your insurance company adjuster and mail it Certified Mail / Return Receipt. Always get a second opinion from an experienced public adjuster or property insurance attorney.
Get a Second Opinion as to Your Claim’s True ValueAn accurate, thorough and substantiated claim value used on your Proof of Loss is vital.Estimates, inventories and other supporting documents that substantiate your claim’s value must accompany your Proof. Who are you relying upon to provide you with an estimate and an accurate claim total? The independent claims adjuster that works for your insurance company? A restoration or rebuild contractor your insurance company sent out?Always obtain a second even a third estimate from a qualified and licensed expert who is not affiliated with your insurance company. These estimates should be prepared by a licensed general contractor qualified to do the repairs, or an experienced public claim adjuster with a proven background in construction, personal property claims and cost valuation.Obtaining estimates, in addition to the estimate done by your insurance company or one of its hired contactors, will allow you to better gauge the true value of your claim and subsequently, include an accurate and fair claim value on your Proof of Loss.*For questions about how to calculate the replacement cost or actual cash value of your claim, contact our office and a public adjuster will be happy to provide you free, no obligation guidance.
Pay Attention to the Small StuffSmall mishaps with seemingly unimportant items on your Proof of Loss will lead to delays with your property insurance claim.Double check and triple check that your Proof of Loss is signed and dated correctly as well as notarized. Furthermore, make certain the correct policy number, claim number, policy term, date of loss and other specifics are correctly and legibly listed on the Proof. Insurance companies will reject your Proof if it is not properly executed. This will delay a settlement offer and payment for your claim.
Know When to Seek Professional HelpBe proactive. Plan. And don’t wait until it’s too late to get help from an experienced public adjuster.Utilizing or engaging professional claim help early in the claims process will ensure a quicker claims process and fair settlement. Most of our past clients now vow to call us before calling the insurance company if they have another claim.If you have to file a Proof of Loss you should, at a minimum, speak to an experienced public adjuster or attorney who specializes in property insurance. The adjusters in our office and even some attorneys we work with are happy to answer questions and offer some guidance free of charge.When and how you submit a Proof of Loss and the accuracy and origin of the information will determine the course of your claim. All of these factors and others should be determined by a trusted claim professional and ideally, be a part of a proactive plan implemented early in the claims process before any delays or disputes arise.
You have one chance to properly fill out and submit your Proof. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have any questions, or would like one of our claims adjusters to review your Proof, then call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (800) 804-2182. You can also submit your information here and a public adjuster will call you within 12 hours. Insurance Claim Consultants have a proven history of quality service providing claim help. We have represented more than 10,000 clients and negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in claims, including tens of millions in increased settlements from reopened and denied claims. We have compiled a 100 percent success rate on reopened claims, often resulting in increased settlements of 400 percent or more.