Do’s and Don’t for filling out a Proof of Loss form

Let’s face it – if your home sustains damage in some unfortunate event, rebuilding it is not an easy task. And we’re not just talking about the physical chores. Besides that, you’ll also have a ton of paperwork to deal with; like property damage insurance claims, for example. And if you’ve never done this sort of thing before; altogether, it can be pretty overwhelming. Before insurance companies reimburse you for the damages, they’ll put you through a great bureaucratic ordeal. Most crucially of all – they’ll want you to provide a proof of loss. And if you ‘re not adept at filling out a proof of loss form, don’t worry – we’re here to help you out!

Proof of loss form – what is it?

So, before we go any further in helping you fill out your proof of loss form, there’s one basic question to answer. First and foremost – what is a proof of loss at all? Well, this is a document that lists out all of the important information regarding your property damage claim. It’s there because you need to provide some elementary details on the accident that’s happened, in order for insurance companies to process your claim. Don’t worry – if you stay calm throughout this process, it’s actually not that difficult, to begin with. Although it may overwhelm you at first; once you examine the details, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

In essence, this is a cover document for everything else you’ll provide the insurance company with during the claim process. Indeed, all of the supporting materials for your claim will depend on this form. If you’ve got a homeowner’s policy, it’s probably written out as a requirement, right there in Section 1. If you’ve got an insurance adjuster helping you out with your claim, they’ll provide you with a proof of loss form, and show you in detail how to fill it out.

Examine your insurance policy

We know what you’re thinking – there’s nothing more boring than reading through the entirety of an insurance policy. However, and trust us on this – it’s an extremely important thing to do. That’s a piece of advice any reliable public insurance adjuster will give you; at the end of the day, knowing what your policy contains is crucial. And furthermore – reading it will definitely solve much of your questions about the process of your claim. While you do this – make sure to pay special attention to the section titled ‘Your Duties After a Loss’. This part of the policy details what your proof of loss form should contain, as well as numerous other things that you’ll need to know about.

Make sure not to miss your deadline

When your home suffers damage, let’s be realistic – the period that follows will be a hectic and difficult one. As we’ve already mentioned above; during this time, you’ll certainly have a lot to do. But in this process, it’s imperative that you don’t miss your deadlines. Among these, the deadline for the submission of your proof of loss form is the most important one. Indeed, many policies obligate you to make this submission a specific amount of time after your loss has occurred. And bear in mind; not doing so may be grounds for insurance denial. Obviously, this is something you painstakingly want to avoid. So, to surmise – keeping true to deadlines in this process is something you absolutely need to pay attention to.

A person holding a wristwatch, representing deadlines.
Submitting your claim on time is imperative!

Familiarize yourself with the laws that affect you

Now, there’s something essential that you have to remember, regarding your proof of loss form; or even, regarding your insurance policy in general. And that’s one simple fact: the insurance industry is, just like any other – regulated by certain laws. Sure, not many of us who aren’t lawyers tend to dabble in this sort of thing; but trust us, knowing the laws that apply to your current situation is crucial. For example – remember what we said about missing deadlines? Well, perhaps your local state laws have obligated insurance companies to give you more time for the claim than you know. But if the law has been changed to your favor; obviously, the insurance company won’t tell you this. So, it’s up to you to understand the situation from a legal standpoint as well; if you want your claim to go through flawlessly.

A row of legal books with law cases.
Learning about all of the laws which concern your claim is a good idea!

Asking for an extension

Of course, no matter how careful you are – there’s always a chance you might miss an important deadline for your proof of loss form. Indeed, regardless of how important this submission is, it’s only human nature after all – people make mistakes. For example, if your home has suffered sinkhole damage, and you’re making urgent repairs; it’s quite easy to lose track of time in this process. But if this has happened, don’t despair – there’s a chance you can still find a way out. In fact, there’s a reasonable chance you can reduce the backlash from this mistake. What you need to do in this case is submit a written request for an extension of your deadline. And in this request, make sure to explain your situation in great detail.

A sinkhole in a yard, after which you'll need to file proof of loss form
If you’re dealing with something nasty like a sinkhole; missing deadlines is a possibility.

Have someone notarize your signature

At the end of the day, there’s one small mistake that people tend to make when dealing with a proof of loss form. However, this tiny flaw can ruin your entire insurance claim – so be careful! Once you’ve signed the form, you need to have a notary witness that signature and officiate it with a seal. With that final touch, your document becomes an official, sworn proof of loss; the kind your policy requires. So, don’t forget to do this one final thing, after filling out the form!

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