Is there a Car Insurance Claim Time Limit?

time limit for accident claims

Accidents are the ultimate inconvenience in life, but there’s no use trying to avoid them—they are accidents, after all.  If you get into an auto accident, you can’t just put your life on ‘pause’.  Most of us can’t afford to just go and buy a new car while waiting for the insurance company to reach a settlement.  Time is of the essence, time is money, and knowing how long can help us make the best decisions.

Unfortunately, the laws around how long the insurance company has to settle a claim vary based on where you live, as with most insurance practices.  Some regulations in states have a concrete limit on how long insurance companies must process, investigate, and deliver your settlement money.

Other states have no such regulation that protects consumers, they leave things open for interpretation, which is often abused.  An average ballpark number will be around 30 days after settlement to process your payment.

Knowing your car insurance claim time limit will probably make you look at your selection of insurance companies differently.  So, you should start doing your homework and asking these companies outright.

It shouldn’t be too hard to sort out the actors from the real deals, those that do pay settlement money expediently will give you clear cut answers.  This is an important statistic for them, it helps differentiate themselves from the competition and contributes towards the annual insurance company awards.

Additional Guidelines for Claims

There may additional steps you may have to take to get your claim processed, depending on the state.  The rules differ for each state.  Here are some examples:

In California, they require all insurance companies, home and auto, to confirm your claim in 15 business days.  After that, they must make the decision to accept or deny your claim after 40 days of receiving your claim.  In the case that your claim is accepted, they are required to send your check or make your deposit in one month upon confirmation.

Texas state laws also require confirmation of your claim within 15 days, but insurance companies must reach a decision in only 15 days upon receiving all necessary documentation and information.  There is a clause for insurance companies that have the ability to extend this time for an additional 45 days if they make a case of needing additional time for investigation.

Most states in the South, unfortunately, have much more lenient regulations on insurance companies and it is not uncommon for them to take months on a routine claim.

You can find more information online at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ webpage and by exploring personal injury attorney’s websites.

Doing your Homework

Even though laws may vary by state, you can influence the speed in which claims are processed by simply being prepared.  Having all your documents in place, receipts, and photographs of valuables can make the claims process tilt much more in your favor.  Just set aside a day to go through all of the details of your car and its contents, then save all of that info online so you’ll never lose it.

You ought to convey however much as could reasonably be expected with the insurance agency, giving documentation, for example, receipts to things under a claim or a vehicle title if your destroyed auto is unrecoverable.

Collect all printed material asked for by the insurance agency and react instantly to telephone calls, messages, or mail concerning the claim. Keep a log of all correspondence and duplicates of all records identified with the claim.

Navigating Delays

When you document a claim, ask the protection claims agent to what extent it should take to get your installment. That way, you ought to have a reasonable arrangement of when you’ll be paid.

On the off chance that you are confounded about any piece of the procedure or a deferral in being paid, you can call the case’s agent, if that does not work, you can make a request to address a manager to readdress the circumstance.

In case you’re troubled with how the procedure is processing, contact the operator who sold you the protection package to determine the problem.

State laws regularly require insurance agencies to give a substantial motivation to denying a claim.  Don’t let them talk their way into you accepting anything less than what you are owed.

Guest Post

A guest post by Doug Allen a Colorado Springs Accident & Injury Lawyer.