What is a Notice of Loss?

Malcolm Tatum

Notices of loss are formal notifications from an insured party to an insurer that some type of loss has taken place. Many insurance providers have a specific document that must be used in order to log a notice of loss, while others simply provide basic guidelines regarding the data that must be included in the notification. While a notice of loss form once had to be submitted in writing, many providers now accept alternate forms of delivery.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

The main function of a notice of loss is to alert the insurance company to the destruction of something that is covered under the terms of the insurance policy. In some cases, this notification will precede the filing of a formal claim. However, many providers will dispatch a representative or adjuster to assess the amount of damage to the insured item mentioned in the loss notice and determine if a claim should be filed. Should the adjuster concur with the statements made in the loss notice, he or she may help the insured party file the claim on the spot.

In situations where it is necessary to use provider approved notice of loss forms, the insured may contact an agent and request copies of the form. This is often the case when a provider underwrites different types of insurance coverage and uses a specific format for each type of policy offered to consumers. For example, destruction of a home may require a notice of loss property damage form, while damage to jewelry would require a loss notice form structured specifically for insured personal effects.

Details regarding how to properly notify the insurer in the event of some sort of loss is usually found in the terms and conditions of the policy itself. Here, the insured party will find information on how soon the loss must be reported, the format required, and what supporting details must be included. Following the terms found in the policy help to ensure that the first notice of loss is accepted and that processing of the subsequent claim is not slowed down.

While most insurance companies once required that a notice of loss be filed by submitting a paper document to an agent or through postal mail, many providers accept alternatives today. Some will consider a verbal notice in the form of a phone call between the insured party and the insurer to be sufficient. Others will accept notification by email, with the notice appearing in the body of the email or as an attachment. As with any type of notice of loss, these alternate options must be directed to the proper department or contact in order to be considered properly forwarded.

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