Proof of Loss
State insurance departments regulate procedures that auto insurance companies must follow should you find yourself involved in a traffic accident. Having adequate car insurance coverage makes these difficult times less stressful.
Proof of Loss and Claims Adjusters
In the event that you are involved in an auto accident, contact your auto insurance company immediately and file an auto accident claim. If you suspect that your vehicle was damaged due to vandalism or theft, also contact the police. Your insurance company will ask for a police report and contact the police officer you spoke with in order to validate your claims.
After you open your auto accident claim, your car insurance company will assign your claim to a claims adjuster. The claims adjuster will schedule a day and time with you to examine your car or truck.
This examination is a first step toward proving the amount of damages that were suffered during the auto accident. If the claims adjuster declares your auto to be a total loss, your insurance company must notify you of this determination.
Proof of Loss Statements
Many insurance companies also require written statements or sworn proof of loss within a certain period of time.
General information that you must provide to your insurance company at the top of your sworn statement follows:
- Your first and last names.
- Driver license number.
- Auto policy number.
- Car insurance policy beginning and expiration dates.
- Make, model, and year of the damaged vehicle.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Lienholder’s name, street mailing address, and telephone number if the vehicle is financed.
You must provide the above information, whether you or not you are found to be at fault in the auto accident. When it comes to the specific details of the damages that you or your vehicle suffered, at the bottom of the sworn statement include details such as:
- Date that the auto damages occurred.
- Names of the people involved in the accident.
- Type of damages that your vehicle suffered (i.e. flood, theft, collision).
- How the accident or damages occurred (i.e. you were rear-ended).
- Weather conditions when the accident occurred (i.e. raining, snowing).
- Reason that you were using the vehicle when the accident occurred (i.e. picking your kids up from school, driving home from work).
Some insurance companies will send you a blank sworn statement form to complete after you file your auto accident claim. Sworn statements must be notarized by a licensed notary public before you submit them to your insurance claims adjuster.
It certainly does not hurt to contact an attorney before you fill out, sign and submit a sworn statement to your auto insurance company. Declarations that you make in the statement could be used to determine the amount of damages the insurance company will cover.
Photos as Proof of Loss
When documenting the auto accident damage, take at least four clear photos of your auto before any repairs are performed on it. You will need these photos if you wish to retain the vehicle. State DMV offices require you to submit photos of your damaged car or truck before you repair it in order for you to receive a salvage title.
You can also have the vehicle examined by your auto repair shop. This detailed examination might uncover hidden damages that the insurance claims adjuster might not have been previously aware of.
Retain all receipts related to auto repairs, towing expenses, and medical bills. The receipts should be dated. You will submit these receipts to your claims adjuster before you receive payment for damages that you incurred.