Proving Damages In A Property Loss Claim
A serious property damage event creates a time-consuming process with cleanup, repairs, and non-stop paperwork. These forms and documents are not to be disregarded, however. What seems like unnecessary “homework” is usually critical to recovering on your insurance claim. One such form is the Sworn Proof of Loss Statement that your insurer will normally require.
Submitting Proof of Loss to the Insurer
During the process of processing your claim, your insurer may ask you to submit a Sworn Proof of Loss form, which seeks information such as:
- Your policy information and amounts
- The date of loss
- The cause of loss
- Your title and ownership status in relation to the property
- Names of any lienholders with interest in the property
- Cash value of the property at the time of loss
- Any other insurance policies that may cover all or some of the loss
ALWAYS provide truthful, accurate information to the best of your knowledge when submitting this information to your insurer. Repercussions for false, misleading or omitted information can include denial of the claim and even charges of insurance fraud.
Section 817.234 of the Florida Statutes set out the requirements for a Proof of Loss claim form and also sets penalties for any individual that “prepares or makes any written or oral statement that is intended to be presented to any insurer in connection with, or in support of, any claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy … knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim.”
In other words, submitting a falsified Proof of Loss claim could subject you to criminal punishment. Make sure you provide information in the most accurate manner possible, and discuss any questions you may have with an attorney that has assisted with property damage claims before.
What type of information to provide with your Proof of Loss
This depends on the individual circumstances of your case, and what your insurer requests. Generally, you may be asked to provide items such as photographs, copies of estimates itemizing the damage, and other relevant materials in addition to the Sworn Proof of Loss form. If you are unsure as to whether certain information should be provided, speak with an experienced property damage attorney to make sure your bases are covered.
What happens if I don’t submit this information?
If you don’t submit your Proof of Loss, or don’t submit within a certain time period (sometimes as soon as 30 to 60 days after the property loss), your claim can be denied by the insurer. Even worse, you could lose the right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company in the future, if disputes arise.
In Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., 144 So. 3d 690 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014), the court held that an insured’s failure to submit a Sworn Proof of Loss to her insurer negated her claim and provided grounds to dismiss her lawsuit against State Farm. Even though the insured submitted other materials supporting her property damage claim, she could not recover against State Farm because failure to turn in the Proof of Loss amounted to a breach of the insurance contract. The Rodrigo ruling is still followed by Florida courts, highlighting the importance of the Sworn Proof of Loss form.
Contact Our Daytona Beach Property Damage Claims Attorneys
Don’t let a form that you’ve completed incorrectly – or overlooked entirely – prevent you from recovering what you deserve after suffering property damage. Talk to an attorney that has been there before and represented hundreds of clients in property damage claims just like yours.
To get the most out of your claim and reduce your out-of-pocket costs, reach out to Bundza & Rodriguez. Call or contact our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online today and request a consultation to protect your rights in filing a claim.