What Is “Proof of Ownership” for Insurance Claims?

proof of ownership in insurance explained
Jan 20

Whether you’re a renter who has tenant insurance, or you’re an owner with home/condo insurance, part of your insurance coverage is meant to protect your personal belongings like furniture, clothes, electronics, art, and jewelry in case any get stolen or damaged. However, just because you own the items doesn’t mean they are all fully covered. In this article, we’ll go over what “proof of ownership” is when it comes to these types of insurance claims.

Protection from Insurance Fraud

Every year there are many cases of insurance fraud in Canada, which is why insurance companies do their best to protect themselves from fraud. When it comes to something like personal injury claims, sometimes an insurance company may get an investigator to ensure claims are genuine if the claim is large enough. However, insurance companies use other safeguards to protect themselves from fraud as well, like proof of ownership.

Proof of Ownership

When it comes to stolen or damaged property claims, a safeguard that insurance companies use to protect themselves from fraud is called proof of ownership. This means that the claimant needs to prove that they actually owned the stolen or damaged property before the insurance company can reimburse the claimant. This is especially true for expensive items. Insurance companies do this because it is easy for claimants to exaggerate or even lie about the value of goods that need to be covered.


proof of ownership for expensive decorative plates


How to Show ‘Proof of Ownership’

Any document that is able to give details of the personal belongings that were stolen or damaged and need to be replaced can count as proof of ownership. However, different insurance companies will have different requirements. In general, the following documents are usually good examples of paperwork that can be used as proof of ownership in a tenant or home/condo insurance claim.


Receipts (whether they are physical or digital) are great examples of proof of ownership as it shows the item purchased, the date it was purchased, for how much money, and occasionally other details about the item.


Another great resource for proof of ownership is a photo of the item. Photos can show specific possessions in your home, their details, and the condition on the day the photo was taken. You can also take photos or scan copies of the receipts.

Financial Statements

Other resources may be accepted as proof of ownership too, like financial statements. Bank statements or credit card statements showing specific purchases from specific retailers are sometimes accepted by insurers.


Another important document that some insurers may accept as proof of ownership are warranties as they will usually provide details similar to a receipt; info on the item purchased, the date it was purchased, and the purchase price.


If the personal belonging has been evaluated and/or appraised in the past, then a certificate of that appraisal is sometimes accepted as proof of ownership by insurers.

Serial Numbers

The serial number of the item can sometimes be used as proof of ownership. A lot of people write this inside the item operating manual for a TV or appliance.


Having an operating manual for the item as proof of ownership may be accepted.


An item’s packaging may also be used as proof of ownership sometimes.


proof of ownership for new smartphones


No Proof of Ownership?

If you don’t have any proof of ownership for a valuable asset, there may still be ways to ensure they are covered in the case of damage or theft. A big key is to be in good communication with your insurance provider to see what you need to do.

Need Help with Proof?


Tips to Secure Proof of Ownership

If you’re wondering what you can do to ensure all your valuable and expensive assets would be covered in the case of theft or damage, follow the tips below.

Take Inventory of All Assets

Taking a full inventory of all your valuable assets is a great place to start, starting with the most expensive. Documenting each asset and their details (when they were bought, how much they were bought for, their model, and any other relevant details) can all help when trying to meet proof of ownership requirements.

Photograph Everything

If you take pictures of all your inventory in and outside of your home, that will provide even further proof of ownership to insurance companies.

Keep Documents

Keeping documents like receipts, warranties, financial statements, and even old packaging can all help with meeting proof of ownership requirements.


Discuss Proof of Ownership with a Professional

Contact Harbord today if you have any pending questions about proof of ownership or anything else. Our insurance brokers and insurance professionals would be happy to help answer any questions you may have.


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