Top Mistakes People Make When Filling Out Proof of Loss Forms

Published on March 12, 2024, by Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp

Insurance Bad Faith

Top mistakes people make when filling out proof of loss forms

After an accident, storm, or other disaster, you will want to take care of any damage to your home or vehicle. One of the first steps is to start the claims process with your insurance company by filing a proof of loss form. This document is a critical step in indicating your total losses to the insurance company.

While it might seem straightforward, many people make errors on these documents. And that could lead to reimbursement delays or even a claim denial. Here are the top mistakes people make when filing a proof of loss form.

What Is a Proof of Loss Form?

When you file a property damage claim with your insurance company, you may be asked to provide proof of loss. If the damage occurred in a federal disaster area, then you may be eligible for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

No matter the requesting agency or insurance company, this legal document is your sworn statement outlining the damage caused by the accident. You will need to outline:

  • Details of the damage
  • The date of the loss
  • The cause of the damage
  • Estimate cost for replacement or repair

When there is any type of property claim, the insurance company will request that you complete the document. Depending on the policy, these forms are not always required.

However, certain circumstances may require a loss of proof form. For example, if there are suspicious circumstances around the loss or a high-value claim, you may need to fill out this document.

Common Errors Claimants Make When Documenting Their Losses

Now that you know why this form is important, you want to make sure that it is filled out correctly. Let’s look at some common mistakes with these documents. Those include:

Not Understanding Your Policy

If you have questions about a proof of loss form, chances are, the answers are in your policy. Before filing the paperwork, you will want to review your coverage. Your policy will outline your property damage limits, the time frame to file a claim, and the items covered. Read this so you don’t make mistakes when filing out a proof of loss form.

Unfortunately, most people do not take an in-depth look at their policy, leading to surprises when making a claim. For your peace of mind and to help speed up the process, make sure to review your coverage thoroughly.

Providing Inaccurate or Incomplete Information

The insurance company wants a full representation of all your losses. And they rely on you to provide them with accurate information. Failing to complete the form or giving the wrong data could lead to problems. Before you send the document to the insurance company, you will want to make sure you have:

  • The right dates of the incident
  • Actual value of the damaged items
  • A complete list of damaged property

Along with that, you want to ensure all sections of the form are filled out completely. If you have any questions, make sure to contact your insurance adjuster. The insurance company would rather you ask questions than send a form that is incomplete or filled out incorrectly.

Forgetting Supporting Evidence

Whether you have a small or large claim, you will need to provide documentation of your losses. The insurance company will not take your word for the actual value of the damage. You need receipts, invoices, estimates, and other tangible evidence to back up your claims. With that information, the insurance company can validate your losses and approve your claims.

One of the biggest mistakes is not providing the insurance company with this documentation. Once again, this can delay the approval process or lead to a total denial of the claim. Before you send off the documents to the insurance company, make sure to attach supporting evidence as well.

Ignoring the Advice of Your Claims Adjuster

A claims adjuster is there to investigate the accident or damage. With their findings, the insurance company will decide whether to deny or approve a claim. Along with that, this individual can help walk you through the claims process. They know what needs to be included on a proof of income form. Ignoring their advice or trying to skip certain parts of the form could result in a denial.

Missing the Filing Deadline

While you may want to take your time, these forms must be completed by a certain due date. If you look at your policy, it should stipulate when the documents need to be completed and sent to the insurance company. Most of the time, the deadline is a few weeks after the date of the loss. Missing this date could affect whether you receive the full claim amount or have to accept a smaller amount.

Not Getting the Paperwork Notarized

Insurance paperwork must go through many steps to ensure the validity of the documents. Unfortunately, forged documents are a common issue in the industry. For that reason, many insurance companies will require you to notarize the form.

A notary will witness your signature and affix a seal to your form. Now, the document is a legally binding sworn statement provided by you. Some insurance companies have been known to accept a claim only if it is properly notarized.

Get Help for a Claim Denial

Even if you have correctly filled out the paperwork and submitted it on time, you might face an unnecessary denial from the insurance company. If that happens to you, there are options in Nevada. A homeowners’ insurance dispute attorney in Las Vegas can help.

The Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp can help you take the next steps. Our lawyers offer a free case evaluation to assess your situation. Contact our office today to learn how we can assist you if you made one of the above-referenced top mistakes people make when filing out proof of loss forms and didn’t get your property insurance claim paid on as a result.