What Is A “Sworn Proof Of Loss” In Florida, And How Can It Affect My Property Damage Claim?
After you file a claim for property damage with your insurance company, your insurer may request a document called a Sworn Proof of Loss, or “SPOL”. For most people, this is their first time dealing with this issue, and the Sworn Proof of Loss can raise some confusion. Submitting a Sworn Proof of Loss is a crucial part of the claims process in Florida, however – failure to provide an accurate SPOL can result in delays or denials of your claim.
Put simply, a Sworn Proof of Loss is a statement made under oath to your insurance company detailing the damages your property has sustained after any type of loss. Because the SPOL is a sworn affidavit, inaccuracies in the document can be used against you during the claim process or even in a court of law. This can be true whether any misstatements were deliberate or simply mistaken. For these reasons, the SPOL is an important document that must be reviewed for full accuracy and completeness.
What are the Guidelines for Submitting a Sworn Proof of Loss in Florida?
Your insurance policy will usually set out parameters and deadlines for filing the SPOL document. Typically, this may be 30 to 60 days after the request for a SPOL is made. You will want to act as quickly as possible, but also take time to ensure that all information provided is complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge. Consulting with a Daytona-area property damage attorney that has reviewed these forms before can help you feel comfortable when completing the Sworn Proof of Loss. Our legal team knows how important each step of the insurance claims process is, and what roadblocks can lead to problems with receiving a fair payout.
Consequences for Misstatements in a Sworn Proof of Loss
Under Florida Statutes Sec. 817.234, an individual may be charged with insurance fraud if they “present or cause to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy or a health maintenance organization subscriber or provider contract, knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim.” Sec 817.234(6) specifically mentions Proof of Loss statements as documents that can be included in an insurance fraud allegation. The statute also holds attorneys responsible if they “knowingly and willfully assist” in the filing of an insurance document that contains false or misleading information. Penalties for insurance fraud in Florida, which can include misleading Proof of Loss forms, involve felony charges under 817.234(11) and substantial fines.
In addition to these potential issues, an incorrect or untimely SPOL can lead your insurer to argue that the insurance contract was breached and they owe you nothing under the policy. Florida courts have found that insurers may not be responsible for paying under a policy where the insureds did not provide a Sworn Proof of Loss in a timely fashion, as directed within their policy.
Contact our Firm With Any Questions about Your Proof of Loss Statement
If you have been asked to provide a Sworn Proof of Loss by your insurer, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The consequences for an incorrect or incomplete proof of loss statement are too damaging to take lightly. Our property damage attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., are familiar with these issues and any questions you might have. We are available to review all information and guide you toward a satisfactory resolution of your insurance claim. Call 386-252-5170 or contact our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online to request a consultation today.