Proof of Loss
State insurance departments regulate procedures that car 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 a car accident, contact your auto insurance company immediately and file an 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 claim, your auto insurance company will assign your claim to a claims adjuster. The claims adjuster will then 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 car 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's license number.
- Insurance policy number.
- The effective start and end dates of your policy.
- Your car's make, model, and year.
- 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.
When it comes to the specific details of the damages that you or your vehicle suffered, remember to include details such as the following at the bottom of the sworn statement:
- Specific date that the damages occurred.
- Names of the people involved in the accident.
- Type of damages that your vehicle suffered (e.g., collision damage, vandalism-related damages, etc.)
- How the accident or damages occurred (e.g., you were rear-ended).
- Weather conditions when the accident occurred (e.g., Was it raining or snowing?).
Some auto insurance companies will send you a blank sworn statement form to complete after you file your 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 accident attorney before you fill out, sign, and submit a sworn statement to your insurer. Declarations that you make in the statement could be used to determine the amount of damages the car insurance company will cover.
Photos as Proof of Loss
When documenting the auto accident damage, take at least 4 clear photos of your car before any repairs are performed on it. These photos will help you receive compensation under your car insurance, as they will help provide evidence of the damage.
You can also have the vehicle examined by your auto repair shop. This detailed examination might uncover hidden damages of which the car insurance claims adjuster might not have been previously aware.
Retain all receipts related to auto repairs, towing expenses, and medical bills. The receipts should be dated. You will submit these receipts to your car insurance claims adjuster before you receive payment for damages that you incurred.