DEFINITION of Affidavit of Loss

An affidavit of loss is a written statement declaring the physical loss of a security usually through theft or destruction by fire, flood or other means. The affidavit contains all the details regarding the loss such as the owner's name as well as any information pertaining to the security. That information may include a serial number or the security’s date of issue. After the statement has been made, a letter of indemnity can be issued requesting the replacement of the security.

BREAKING DOWN Affidavit of Loss

There is always the possibility that a physical record of a security such as a stock certificate may be lost. If the record is stolen, misplaced or destroyed, the owner is required to swear an affidavit pertaining to the loss of the item. This is an oath outlining that to the best of the person's knowledge the record is truly gone. If the lost copy appears after the owner received a replacement security, the original record must be forwarded to the company for disposal.

Other Instances Where an Affidavit of Loss Is Used

Comparable statements exist for other missing financial documents that are not securities. For example, an affidavit of lost note is filed when a promissory note or other record of indebtedness is destroyed or lost. This type of affidavit would include the name of the debtor, the outstanding balance, the interest rate on the debt, details on the repayment history and listing of any property that was put up as security.

An affidavit of loss can be filed for other permanent documents that are no longer in an owner’s possession. This may include documents related to ownership of a house, a lost passport, a diploma or even an ATM card. Missing marriage licenses may need such a document to be filed.

Any time an individual loses a physical record that cannot be immediately replaced with a copy, they may need to file an affidavit of loss. For example, the title, registration or plates to a vehicle could be destroyed, stolen or defaced to the extent they can no longer be used. Some states require an affidavit of loss to be filed in such cases to record their absence. The owner or title holder must provide such information as the make, model and vehicle identification number for the vehicle associated with the missing documents.

The rules and requirements of each jurisdiction can vary in terms of information required when filing an affidavit of loss. It is possible that an affidavit of loss may need to be notarized in order to be accepted by the authorities or institution it is filed with.