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Ask the Home Insurance Expert

My car that was broken into and several personal items were stolen. I supplied my home insurer with the police report and receipts for the items. My insurer now wants me to sign a document that gives it authority to go through my apartment, bank statement, taxes and basically my whole personal life. Will my claim be automatically denied if I do not sign this paper?

It’s not necessarily an automatic denial of your theft claim, but not signing the document could certainly delay your claim and could eventually lead to it being denied.

It's not uncommon for insurance companies to pry into your personal life when a claim deals with situations such as theft, vandalism or fire.  This is because insurers find higher instances of fraud associated with these types of claims.

Your concerns are understandable; you were already victimized by a thief and now may have your personal life investigated by your homeowners insurance.

If you don’t sign the authorization form or provide documents requested, it’s possible that your claim could suffer if there is an issue your insurer wants to clear up, and it can’t.

Your insurance policy likely states that you are obligated to cooperate with your insurer during a claim and if you don’t voluntarily hand over certain documents, or give your insurer authorization to procure them, then the claim may be eventually denied for non-cooperation.

If this occurs, and you end up in a dispute with your insurer, the whole matter could end up in court to be decided.  Just be aware that court cases in various states have denied insureds like you from recovery for their loss for failing to produce documents pertinent to the claim.

Before permitting your insurer to dive into your personal information, you can always discuss your rights with a lawyer.  You may also want to contact your state’s insurance regulator to find out your consumer rights in this situation.

Last updated: Jul. 24, 2014