What Is a Proof of Loss?

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Your insurance company may ask you for additional information and documents after you file a claim. One document that your insurance company may request that you complete is a proof of loss.

Filing a Proof of Loss is required under most insurance policies, including homeowners insurance, business insurance, life insurance, and car insurance. Your duty to complete proof of loss is stated in your insurance policy.  The following language is an example of what you might expect to see.

Send us a signed, sworn proof of loss containing the information we request to investigate the claim. You must do this within 60 days after our request. We will supply you with the necessary forms.

It is important to note that a proof of loss is different than your initial report of the claim. It is a separate document that has legal implications.

A Proof of Loss is a legal document

A Proof of Loss is legal document that states the amount of money the policyholder is requesting from the insurance carrier. It provides the insurance company with detailed information regarding the formal claim of damages. The policyholder signs this document – and in some cases this must be notarized — and provides the necessary documentation to support the amount of money they have requested.

Your submission of a proof of loss triggers certain obligations for your insurance company.  Under Wisconsin law, insurance companies have 30 days to pay the claim after they have been provided notice of the claim and the amount of the loss.  

If requested, you must provide a Proof of Loss.

If a proof of loss is requested, you are required to provide a proof of loss to your insurance claim before you may file a lawsuit against the insurance company.  Even worse, there are instances where insureds have had their lawsuits dismissed because of their failure to submit a proof of loss has been deemed a failure to cooperate.

What is included in a Proof of Loss?

What must be included in a Proof of Loss varies from insurance policy to insurance policy. In most cases, the Proof of Loss must include the following:

  • Interest in the Property
  • Amount of loss that the policyholder is claiming
  • Documentation that supports the amount of claimed loss
  • Date that the loss occurred
  • Cause of the loss
  • Identity of party claiming the loss

The insurance company should send you the Proof of Loss form that they would like for you to complete. By completing the Proof of Loss document in a timely manner, your claims process may proceed more quickly.

Can an insurer reject your Proof of Loss?

After you have completed the Proof of Loss and submitted it to your insurance company, they will review the document and issue a reply.  The carrier must decide whether to accept or reject the Proof of Loss.

An insurance company may not reject a Proof of Loss merely because it disagrees with your claim. Rather, insurance companies can only reject a proof of loss if the proof is defective. For example, did you leave a portion on the form blank or fail to have it signed? The insurer is obligated to provide specifics regarding the basis of the denial and instructions as to what the policyholder must do to properly comply.

An insurance company may not reject a Proof of Loss for arbitrary reasons. An insurance company may act in bad faith if they reject a Proof of Loss because they disagree with the amount that the insured is claiming or as a pretense to avoid timely paying the claim.

Murdock Law’s Thoughts

Most insureds do not have experience with preparing a Proof of Loss. It is easy to get caught up with the various coverages and itemizations that are required.  It is wise to seek assistance from an attorney and/or public adjuster if you have a significant insurance claim as mistakes have the potential to be costly.

lawyers at Murdock Law have helped policyholders like you recover money owed from insurance companies for property damage claims and liability claims. Call us at 884-744-7529 or email us at [email protected] if you need help navigating your insurance claim.

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