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What is Proof of Loss in an Insurance Claim?

Updated: March 2018

Proof of loss is documentation that proves your ownership of certain items if, for instance, they are stolen and you need to file an insurance claim. Proof of loss helps your insurer verify which of your belongings were damaged or destroyed in a covered claim, and how much they were worth, so your insurer can help reimburse you for the lost items.

You probably don't expect your home to be broken into, but it's important to be prepared. Homeowners, condo and renters insurance policies typically cover personal property (up to the limits stated in the policy), but to file a claim, you'll need to know what's gone. Would you be able to list the specific items that were stolen or damaged and how much those items were worth?

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Do I Need Proof of Loss for an Insurance Claim?

If you need to file an insurance claim, your insurer may request a list of items that have been lost or damaged. You might be asked to provide some type of proof that you own these items, such as receipts or bills. This is why it may help to think ahead and create an inventory of your belongings and periodically update it.

Here are some tips for creating and safekeeping your home inventory:

How to Create a Home Inventory

Here are some tips for creating and safekeeping your home inventory:

Make a Thorough Checklist

Make a list of your possessions and back it up with relevant information. You'll want to include the type of item, the year you purchased it, its original price and any other relevant details.

Attach sales receipts, purchase contracts and any appraisal documents, advises the Insurance Information Institute (III).

When it comes to your clothes, tally the number of items you own by type, such as shoes and pants, the III recommends. Write down the make, model and serial number of appliances and electronic equipment.

Make sure you keep your inventory list in a safe place, like a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. Remember to update your list whenever you make a big purchase.

Think Visually

You don't need to be a professional filmmaker to videotape or take photos of every room in your house.

If you choose to videotape, narrate as you go along. Discuss each item and note its features and conditions.

Create a Digital Record

If you are concerned about losing your paper list, think about using a software option or mobile app to create a digital record of your possessions.

An electronic inventory program can help you organize and store your information. If you create a digital file, be sure to back it up and keep a copy in an online storage account or external drive.

Taking stock of what you own now can help give you a clearer picture of what you own and give you the peace of mind that your documentation is in order, just in case the unexpected occurs.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2019 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.

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