Question Details:We have a flood claim with our home owners insurance in which the 1st claims rep told us to toss the damaged property prior to inspection and we did. The new claims rep. wanted to settled the claim for Penny's on the dollar, and we refused. Now they want us to do a sworn statement in proof of loss? We aren't sure if we should complete the form, and where we stand legally, as we wouldn't have ever thrown the damaged items out had she not told us. She admitted to telling us this to the new rep and there supervisor during our meeting. We just want what we deserve, and most off, we want closure.
You can still honestly give a sworn statement about the discarded items, as long as you don't make anything up; you can give your best estimate about what each of those items was worth, as long as you say it's an estimate. One easy way to do this, is put an asterisk ("*") after each estimated value, and then, at the end of the list, the asterisk followed by something like, "Estimated value. Item previously discarded on instructions of ________ company adjuster ________."
You will usually not have problems from a proof of loss, as long as you don't make any knowingly false statements.
Will out the form too the best of you knowledge, with whatever documentation you may have of value (e.g. any old receipts? credit card statements with lost items charged on them? etc.) If the company dispute the value, you will stand on the fact that their agent, for whom they are legally responsible, told you to throw the items out. If you have evidence of that--such as any correspondence, emails, even notes you took at the time or the names of other people she told that to--provide copies of that information, too.
Legally, a business is responsible for the actions of its agents in the course of their employment. If the insurer does dispute paying you the full amount and also will not stand behind its agent's actions, you option is to sue. Before doing that, you will need to weigh the cost of the lawsuit (legal fees, etc.) and the fact winning is never a given or guarantee vs. how much more you are hoping to get, to make the right decision as to what to do.