do i need proof of loss when filing a claim?

It's probably not something you want to think about often, but if your home were ever burglarized or destroyed by a fire, would you be able to list the specific items that were stolen or damaged? And would you know how much it would cost to replace them?

first things first: what is proof of loss?

A sworn proof of loss is a statement made by you to your insurance company in support of a claim. Generally it entails basic information about the loss and its total amount. A proof of loss form may include the date and cause of the loss, some documents that support the amount of the loss being claimed, and people who have a vested interest in the claim.

In other words, you're providing your insurer a form in which you swear the claim is honest (i.e. no intentional sledge hammer damage was done), and that you can back it up with evidence that you did in fact own the property that was damaged or stolen.

By following to the proof of loss requirements, the claims process can go as smoothly and quickly as possible — and everyone wins!

is proof of loss always needed when filing a homeowners insurance claim?

Most homeowners insurance companies require you to provide a proof of loss, and it's often one of the most critical aspects of the insurance claim process. A proof of loss gives the insurer a sufficient amount of time to evaluate the claim and make sure there's no fraud present.

It should be noted that a proof of loss isn't automatically executed in the event of a covered claim. Instead, it's up to you to provide a proof of loss statement in order for your claim to go through.

Remember, usually a proof of loss needs to be submitted by a specific date — a timeframe of typically 60 days. If you miss the date, your claim may end up being denied.

how to fill out a proof of loss form

Unfortunately, even honest, minor mistakes can delay the claims process. That's why understanding the basics of your proof of loss form is absolutely vital, and knowing what information to have on hand can save you time and hassle in the process.

Proof of loss form basics

A proof of loss statement is required by most homeowners insurance policies, and is generally pretty straight forward. In order to fill out this form, you'll need to have your policy and declarations pages handy.

While each form has a different layout, most pretty much request the following standard information:

  • The policy number
  • The case number (if you have one)
  • The policy amount at the time of loss
  • The actual cash value at the time of loss
  • Date issued and expired

Next, you'll need to provide the basics, like your name and address. You will also need to indicate the cause of damage to your property (i.e. vandalism, fire, or theft).

The form may ask you to provide the purpose of your property under the 'occupancy' section. Because this is your place of residence, simply write 'residency' on the provided line.

Provide the actual proof of loss

Of course, you will need to provide information about the damaged or stolen property. To accurately calculate the claim's value, it's always wise to have the original receipts of your damaged or stolen items. Estimates, appraisals, a home inventory, and other documents that back up your claim's value may also be requested by your home insurance company.

If you don't have those available, you may need to contact your bank or credit card company for purchase records. Furthermore, make sure that you get estimates for the needed repairs and save all invoices or repair bills to ensure you're sufficiently covered.

Sign and notarize the form

Once you've filled out the form, bring it to a notary public — usually places like an office supply store, mailing service, courthouse, or bank have one. This is where you'll sign and date your name in front of the notary, and he or she will fill out the rest of the information.

After you've submitted the proof of loss, your insurance company will review it and reply. If your insurer rejects the proof of loss, it's most likely for technical reasons — maybe the form wasn't filled out correctly, the supporting documentations were missing, or it wasn't correctly signed or notarized. Therefore, you want to be as accurate and careful as possible — any little mishap may slow the claims process.

If you're a policyholder at Esurance, give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our agents are available at these times to address any questions or concerns you may have.

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