There are many reasons why you may need to make an insurance claim, whether that be sewer backup, a fire, damage to items in your vehicle or during a home invasion. After such a loss, you will want to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to make an insurance claim so you can be reimbursed for any damaged items. You may then be asked to complete a Proof of Loss form. Not sure where to begin? Let’s discuss what a proof of loss form is and how to fill it out correctly so that you can be reimbursed for your losses quickly.
What is a Proof of Loss form?
A “proof of loss” is a document filled out by the policyholder when property damage occurs resulting in an insurance claim. This form helps to substantiate the value of the insured’s loss to the insurance company.
A proof of loss is a formal document you must file with an insurance company that initiates the claim process after a property loss. It is an official, notarized, sworn statement from you to your insurer regarding the scope of damage to your property. Proof of loss forms are typically one page and serve as a summary of the critical information required under the policy; this includes the supporting evidence of the damage and estimates of the present value of loss to the insurer. It also provides your insurance company with specific information about an incident i.e. its cause, resulting damage and financial impact.
In an insurance claim environment, it is up to you to present and prove your losses to the insurance company. This form and its supporting documents enables you to do just that. Once you have submitted the form, your insurance company will need to review the claim and respond with their position on the claim.
Notify your isure broker
It is best to call your isure broker immediately after the accident has occurred to make an insurance claim so you can be reimbursed for any damaged items. You may then be asked to complete a proof of loss form. The form reflects any applicable government regulations, as well as the insurer’s specific requirements.
How to fill out a Proof of Loss form
After the incident, your insurance company or broker will ask you to complete and return a proof of loss form after the incident. Each insurance company provides their own form that is used to document damaged or destroyed items. Filling out a proof of loss form will require a copy of your insurance policy. The policy determines what must be in a proof of loss. On the form, you will be asked for:
- Coverage amounts at the time of the loss;
- Date and cause of the loss;
- A complete list of all damaged, destroyed or stolen items
- Documents that support the value of the property and the amount of loss claimed (i.e. estimates, inventories, receipts, etc.) Attach proof of purchase, receipts, police reports, owner’s manuals and warranties, if possible.
- Attach photos of damaged items. Keep damaged items unless they are dangerous or a health hazard. A current home content inventory can assist in the claims process when you have experienced a loss.
- Parties claiming the loss under the policy;
- Parties having an interest in the property – such as the bank holding the mortgage;
- Policy number
Please note: You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the proof of loss are true. If any of the statements you make on the form are false, your insurance and claim may be voided.
Three things to remember when filling out a Proof of Loss form
1. Fill out the form accurately and truthfully
If you do not fill out this form accurately, it can lead to underpayment, delay or even denial of your claim. All information contained in this document must be true and based on supporting evidence. Any inaccuracies or misrepresentations can result in a denial of coverage in the future.
2. Abide by time requirements
Your insurance policy will state how long you have to fill out and submit a proof of loss form after damage has occurred. A proof of loss should be filed within 90 days of an automobile collision. For a home claim, most insurers have a time limit where you must open it; varying from as little as three months up to one year from the damage or loss date. If you do not submit in the time frame allowed, you risk denial of your claim.
It’s important to note that your insurance company may not automatically send out a proof of loss form for submittal. For some insurers, it is the policyholder’s responsibility to obtain, fill out and proactively submit their proof of loss form. If you’re ever unsure, feel free to contact your isure broker.
3. Obtain detailed estimates on the damage to the property
Having an accurate and thorough claim value used on your proof of loss is very important. It needs to accurately detail the property damage and its value to determine what you are owed. Guesswork is not the way to go here!
Review your policy
During the claims process, it is a good idea for you to review your policy and become familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and replacement values. The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay out of your own pocket before your insurer will step in and pay the remaining balance of a claim (up to the limit in your policy, of course.)
- If you make a claim, the amount you receive will depend on the type of coverage you bought
- Insurance companies have three options for your damaged or stolen items: Repair, replace or reimburse
- Your policy requires that you take all necessary steps to limit further damage. This would include protecting the damaged items from further deterioration from weather, theft or other factors
** If your property requires repairs, your insurance company may provide you with a selection of recommended local vendors to consider or you may choose your own. Speak with your isure representative to assist you in finding one.
What happens next
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, once you complete and submit the proof of loss form, the following takes place:
- Your documentation is thoroughly reviewed.
- Your insurance company will either accept or reject your claim for items you have noted on the form.
- When the review is complete, your insurer will determine a total loss value for your claim and contact you.
- You will have an opportunity to consider the payment amount your insurer is offering you.
- If the proof of loss form is accepted, your payment (less any applicable deductible) will be processed.
If you need to make an insurance claim, due to a flood, a fire or damaged items in your vehicle, remember you are not alone. An accident at your home or to your vehicle can leave you frazzled, but following these steps may help protect you from any unnecessary worries. We can offer you advice on handling your claim, and help guide you through the claim’s process. Let an isure representative assist with your decision before officially filing your proof of loss claim!