The following section from Day on Torts Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law​​​ is out of date and should not be used. It remains a part of this site for historical purposes only. An updated version of the book is available by subscription at (Additional information below.)

§10.2 Effect of Misrepresentation by Insured in Proof of Loss

The Case: McConkey v. Continental Ins. Co., 713 S.W.2d 901 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 22, 1984).

The Basic Facts: Plaintiff insured sued insurer for failure to pay claim in a timely matter. Insurer claimed that insured made material misrepresentations in the proof of loss.

The Bottom Line:

  • "The court was obviously convinced that all the contents claimed to be in the house were not there, but failed to elaborate further on the issue.
    Policies of fire and property indemnity insurance usually provide that any fraud or false swearing on the part of the insured, whether before or after loss, shall relieve the insurer from liability. Under such a provision, false statements as to material matters wilfully made by the insured in proofs of loss with the intention of thereby deceiving the insurer will preclude any recovery on the policy by the insured; ... . This rule is applicable, for example, to the following: an overvaluation of the property insured; ... the inclusion in the proofs of property not destroyed; ... .

    'If a false statement is knowingly made by the insured with regard to a material matter, the intent to defraud will be inferred... . . Furthermore, the insured's knowledge of the falsity of the statements made by him need not be absolute in order to work a forfeiture of his rights under the policy. It is sufficient if he swears with disregard to the truth or swears to matters as true within his knowledge when in fact he knows little or nothing about them.' 44 Am. Jur. 2d Insurance § 1371, p. 299-300."
    713 S.W.2d at 906.

Other Sources of Note: In PacTech, Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 292 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 22, 2008), perm. appeal denied, (Apr. 27, 2009) the holding in McConkey was cited with approval.

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

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The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

The book is now available electronically by subscription at The new format allows us to keep the book current as new opinions are released. BirdDog Law also has John's Tennessee Law of Civil Trial and Compendium of Tennessee Tort Reform Statutes available by subscription, as well as multiple free resources to help Tennessee lawyers serve their clients

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