What To Do After A Loss


The burden of proof is on the policyholder to present and document their claim. In addition to you having the burden of proving your claim, there are additional duties that all property owners are required to adhere to after suffering an insured loss.

These obligations and requirements can be found in any insurance policy, sometimes they are not so obvious. Below are some policy requirements, additional insights and helpful ideas that go beyond your fundamental responsibilities that can help you move your claim forward in a direction and manner of your choosing.

Notify the police if a law may have been broken

This is one of the first duties in almost all insurance policies. It is also one of the first written requirements in case of a loss or damage.

Notification of a loss

The policy requires that you give prompt notice, including a description of the property involved. What happens if the damage is more than you initially told them? While calling your agent may get the claim going, some policies require that you notify them in writing.

As soon as possible, give a description of how, when and where the damage occurred.

The statements you make at the very beginning of your claim will be considered throughout your entire claim. The insurance company is writing down every statement you make, keeping track of statements and timely clarifications are crucial.

Protecting the property from further damage

In addition to covering a roof, and boarding up broken doors and windows, protecting the property from further damage means considering liability exposures and the balance between removing wet or damaged evidence and letting the adjuster see it which could be days later.

Separate the Damaged from Undamaged Property

The policy requires you to separate the damaged and undamaged property and make available for inspection by the carrier. Be mindful of logistics, cross contamination and costs.

Submit complete estimates and inventories to the Insurance Company

You have the burden of providing your insurance company with complete estimates and inventories of the damaged and undamaged property including quantities, costs, values and amount of loss claimed.

Permit insurance company inspections and prove your loss

Also allowing the insurance company to take samples for testing and analysis as much as reasonably requested.

If requested, permit the insurance company to question you under oath

Statements under oath are usually recorded, or a written statement signed. Either way, it is a violation of the policy if you fail to comply with a request for a statement under oath.

Submit a Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss

Some policies require a Proof of Loss be submitted within 60 days of date of loss.

Cooperate with the insurance companies investigation and settlement of the claim

There is a fine balance between cooperation, delay and undue burden and the definitions are very subjective.