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Hurricane Irma Proof of Loss

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Hurricane Irma will go down as one of the most damaging storms in U.S. history. After leveling several islands in the Northern Caribbean, the powerful storm struck the Florida Keys and Gulf Coast. While significant damage also occurred in other states such as Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, the lion's hare took place in the Sunshine State.According to Moody's Analytics, Irma's total damages are expected to exceed $150 billion, which is at the same level as 2005's Hurricane Katrina. And AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe modeling firm, estimates that insured losses in the U.S. from Hurricane Irma will range from $25 to $35 billion. Since Irma was a classic tropical storm in which most of the damage was done by wind and storm surge, much of the damage will be covered by property insurance policies.

Conversely the flooding from Hurricane Harvey that caused most of the damage in south Texas isn't covered by private insurers (except in rare instances). As a result, the Consumer Federation of America estimates Hurricane Irma could result in 450,000 property insurance claims. If that number includes you, you need to be proactive and pay special attention to your responsibilities.

A crucial element of a claim is the Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss, or the Proof of Loss form. Typically one page, the Proof of Loss form is a legal document, including supporting documentation, in which you attest to the amount of money being requested under your policy for covered losses.

In other words, you're providing your insurer a form in which you swear the claim is honest, and that you can back it up with evidence that you did in fact own the property that was damaged. Your insurance company uses this sworn proof of loss statement to verify the facts and determine how much it owes you for your property damage claim.

The Clock is Ticking

There is a deadline for filing a Proof of Loss form. Blow it and your claim could be diminished, delayed or at worst, denied. Typically a Proof of Loss form must be filed within 60 days after the company requests it, but it also could be 60 days from the date of loss. Your policy should specify; get a certified copy of your policy and look for "Section 1- Conditions, (2) Duties After Loss" to make sure.

If you have difficulty understanding your insurance policy, or if you need an extension to file your Proof, write your insurance company adjuster and mail it Certified Mail/Return Receipt.

The Proof of Loss Basics
Here are some other basic tips that will help settle your claim quickly and get you every penny you're entitled to collect.

Documentation of Damaged Items: 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. Make sure that you get estimates for the needed repairs and save all invoices or repair bills to ensure you're sufficiently covered.

Get a Second Opinion: Estimates, inventories and other supporting documents that substantiate your claim's value must accompany your submission in order to obtain an accurate, thorough and substantiated claim value on your Proof of Loss form. Who do you rely on to provide an estimate and accurate claim total? The independent claims adjuster that works for your insurance company? A contractor your insurance company sent out?

Our advice is to always obtain a second even a third estimate from a qualified and licensed expert who is not affiliated with your insurance company. These estimates should be prepared by a licensed general contractor qualified to do the repairs, or an experienced public claim adjuster with a proven background in construction, personal property claims and cost valuation.

Obtaining estimates, in addition to the estimate done by your insurance company or one of its hired contractors, will provide a truer value of your claim and subsequently, include an accurate and fair claim value on your Proof of Loss form. For questions about how to calculate the replacement cost or actual cash value of your claim, contact Miller Public Adjusters and we will be happy to provide you free, no obligation guidance.

Sweat the Small Stuff: Seemingly small errors can lead to delays with your property insurance claim. Double, even triple check that your Proof of Loss is signed and dated correctly. And make sure it's notarized. Notary Publics are located in places like an office supply store, mailing service, courthouse, or bank. Sign and date in front of the notary public, and he or she will fill out the rest of the information. Also make sure the correct policy number, claim number, policy term, date of loss, and other specifics are listed correctly and legibly on the Proof of Loss form. Don't give your insurance company any reason to delay your claim settlement.

Know When to Seek Professional Help: When and how you submit a Proof of Loss statement and the accuracy and origin of the information will largely determine the course of your claim. It's to your advantage to engage professional expertise early in the claims process to ensure a quicker, fair settlement.

Most of the people we've helped before will consult with us prior to calling their insurance company when experiencing another claim situation. The adjusters in our office are happy to answer questions and offer some guidance free of charge.

When and how you submit the form, the accuracy and origin of the information, and what you choose to include or exclude on the Proof of Loss form will determine the remaining course of your claim.

David Miller
David Miller
My name is David Miller and I am the proud owner of Miller Public Adjusters. With years of experience in the fire and water restoration industry, my passion is to help homeowners and business owners who've suffered a loss, because I know what's it like to have a personal fire loss and an insurance company that doesn't want to pay the claim. Feel free to comment or ask a question. We are here to help in anyway possible.
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Client Name: Amanda W.

If I could provide one crucial piece of advice to anyone dealing with a major loss due to fire, water damage, etc. – it would be to contact Miller Public Adjusters!

Client Name: Gayle S.

“Excellent experience. I had a major fire which destroyed my business. My Insurance company was hostile and adversarial at best. I hired Miller Public Adjusters. They did everything. I never had to have another conversation with a elusive and hostile insurance company. If I hadn’t hired Miller Public Adjusters to represent me, I would’ve lost everything.”

Client Name: Erica F.

“Dave is super knowledgable on the process as he’s not only been in the industry for years but he has also had personal experience with his own fire-damaged home. No matter how trivial you may think your question is Dave and his staff will take the time to make sure your questions get answered and you understand the ramifications. His expertise on the matter quickly turned what seemed to be a hopeless uphill battle into a more manageable playing field.

Client Name: Manny V.

“Top-notch service would recommend Miller Public Adjusters service to anyone. Dave thank you much. The process was great.”

Client Name: Phyllis M.

“David and his staff are outstanding and worth their weight in gold. If you need help with any insurance claim, hire them; you’ll be glad you did! If I could rate them 100 stars, I would!”

Client Name: Sharal D.

"Champions. Warriors. Heroes. Lifesavers! That’s exactly what David Miller and his fantastic team at Miller Public Adjusters are! There really are no words to describe what his team has done for me and my family. We are extremely grateful, and they are WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY you pay them for their services and then some!"

Client Name: Michele K.

“Thankfully, the restoration company referred us here. From that point on, David at Miller Public Adjusters reassured us that he would do everything in his power and knowledge to prove that our homeowners insurance should cover the damages. In the end, we won the case and the claim was paid. I can’t thank David at Miller Public Adjusters enough!”

Client Name: Todd L.

We never would have been able to navigate the confusing world of a total loss claim without their help, guidance and expertise,” Todd stressed. “I would recommend Miller Public Adjusters to anyone who is faced with a traumatic claim that involves dealing with ‘Big Insurance.’ They will absolutely help to alleviate much of the pain.

Client Name: Christine S.

They were successful at getting the maximum settlement from the insurance company. My family and I are always praising Miller Public Adjusters to people who ask us about the fire. We can’t thank them enough.

Client Name: Debbie G.

“Miller Public Adjusters knows what they are doing and stood firm against the insurance company. Miller Public Adjusters got us everything we were entitled to, and even more than we thought, in a matter of months. We did not have to deal with our insurance company and also did not have to purchase anything and turn in receipts for reimbursement. What a time-saving relief. Miller Public Adjusters are knowledgeable, understanding professionals, and we highly recommend them to all our friends and family.”

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