Can Homeowners Insurers Request a Sworn Proof of Loss?

Posted on March 10, 2023


Long Nguyen | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

A sworn proof of loss is a tool by the homeowners insurance company to guard against fraudulent claims. However, they can trip up and slow down valid claims like yours. Before you deal with a sworn proof of loss document, let an experienced homeowners insurance claim attorney help respond to your insurer.

What Is a Sworn Proof of Loss?

A sworn proof of loss (SPOL) is a legal document that the insured (policyholder) sends to the insurer (insurance company). The document supports a claim for losses or damages covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

Essentially, the SPOL is a detailed description and includes an estimate of the costs for repairs and replacement.

Insurers can request the SPOL, which must be signed and notarized. When the SPOL is requested, the insured must submit the document within a specified timeframe after the loss occurs or risk denial of the claim.

Not all insurance companies require the SPOL, but some may request one in situations where, for example, there is a disagreement over the amount of the loss—or in extreme cases where there is suspicion of fraud or misrepresentation. Also, SPOLs are required in cases involving significant damage due to fire, wind, or other natural disasters.

Tips for preparing an accurate and timely Sworn Proof of Loss

Filling out a SPOL can be a detailed and arduous process. General tips include:

Review your insurance policy.

Before completing the sworn proof of loss, you should review your insurance policy. Look for specific requirements for submitting the SPOL. Know what limits and types of coverage apply to your property.

Gather the information for your claim.

Information required includes the date and time of the incident, the cause of the loss, along with a detailed description of the damage. Include any police incident reports or witness statements, if relevant.

Document the damage.

The documentation should include photos or video evidence. Make a list of lost or damaged items, including their estimated value.  Consider using home inventory software and backing up your inventory online. That information will be invaluable when it comes to documenting your loss.

Estimate the cost of repairs or property replacement.

Include an estimate of the cash amount that will cover the loss or damage to your property.  That amount will be included in the SPOL.

Fill out the form.

Take the time to fill out the SPOL completely and accurately. Be prepared to disclose personal and policy information and a detailed description of the loss. Be truthful. You are signing a sworn statement.

Sign and notarize the form.

The form must be notarized attesting that all the information is true to the best of your knowledge.

Submit the form to the insurer.

Be sure that the completed and notarized SPOL reaches the insurer within the required time frame specified in the insurance policy.

How an Attorney Can Help

An attorney can be a valuable resource in helping you prepare an accurate and complete SPOL. Here are ways they can ensure your rights are protected.

  • Reviewing your insurance policy to help you understand the coverage and your requirements for filing a claim (including deadlines for filing the SPOL).
  • Investigating the property loss, which may include obtaining expert opinions and estimates and review of documents that support the SPOL.
  • Drafting the SPOL on your behalf, including assisting you as the insured in making accurate damage and loss assessments.

Contact an Insurance Claim Lawyer

You paid your premiums to the insurance company, and you deserve fair treatment. If your insurance agent says you need to fill out a SPOL, that is your first indication that you will need the administrative and legal advice of our homeowners insurance claim attorneys. Contact us at Insurance Claim HQ — we’re here for you.

FAQs About Sworn Proof of Loss Documents

What happens after you submit a SPOL to the insurer?

Homeowners insurance claim services from your insurance company will assist you in navigating the claims process. However, their job is to protect the interests of the insurance company. Your interests are stipulated in the policy. When those interests diverge, or disputes occur, you should hire an attorney.

Does the insurance company use attorneys to defend against SPOL claims?

In cases where disputes arise, the insurance company may use its attorneys to defend against the claim. At a minimum, you can expect a call and visit from a professional insurance adjuster, who will independently investigate the damage and make assessments.