How Long Do Car Insurance Claims Take to Settle?
Having a car accident, even if the damage is minor, can be a challenging experience—to say the least.
Once you have filed your car insurance claim, you may be wondering ‘how long do car insurance claims take to settle?’
The average time across the U.S. for a car insurance claim to be settled is usually around 30 days. However, this does vary by state.
In this article, we will answer your questions about how long auto insurance claims take to be settled, as well as other common queries about car insurance claims.
Before we begin discussing when your car insurance claim will likely be settled, let’s first review the different types of insurance that you may have in place:
|Minimum liability insurance: Bodily injury liability||Yes||Injuries sustained by others.||Injuries sustained by you.|
|Minimum liability insurance: Property damage liability||Yes||Pays for damage to another person’s property.||Damage to your own property.|
|Collision||No||Pays for damages to your vehicle after a collision.||Damage to other parties’ property and to your car by fire, theft, vandalism, and weather.|
|Comprehensive||No||Pays for damage to your car from fire, theft, vandalism, and weather.||Damage to other people’s property and to your car by collision.|
|Uninsured motorist||No||Pays for damages to your car or injuries if an uninsured driver causes the accident.||Damages and injuries to property and people that are not your own car and not your passengers.|
|Personal injury protection||No||Pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers that arise from an accident you caused.||Medical expenses of anyone from the other vehicle or pedestrians involved in the accident.|
|Towing||No||Pays for the cost of towing your car.||The cost of towing another vehicle.|
When Should You File a Car Insurance Claim?
Car insurance is meant to assist you with the financial burden of expenses that you need to cover following a car crash or accident.
For this reason, it’s important to know whether your deductible will be more, or less, than the repairs needed to your vehicle.
Key Point: What Is A Deductible?
A deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of pocket for the cost relating to an insurance claim, before your insurance company will pay out for the claim.
For example, your insurer may have specified a deductible of $1,500. This means that you will need to pay this $1,500 before any repair work will be covered for your car.
If your deductible is $1,500, but repairing the damage is only going to cost $750, it’s not worth putting in a claim.
If the repairs to your car are going to cost more than $1,500, then it may be worth considering putting in a car insurance claim.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to put in a claim:
How extensive was the accident?
If the accident was extensive and involved more than just you as a driver, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company.
In other words, if there were pedestrians, property, or any other vehicles involved in the accident, this will be definite grounds for making the claim.
Was anyone injured?
If anyone was injured in the accident, you will need to file an insurance claim. This is necessary for two reasons.
The first reason is that having minimum liability insurance will help you pay for medical costs if someone is hurt in an accident.
The second reason is that if you caused the accident and do not file a claim to pay for medical costs, you could be open to a lawsuit.
Who was at fault?
Your insurance company will be able to help you receive fair compensation if another driver caused the accident.
If you were the at-fault driver, then your insurance company will help you pay for the damages that were caused.
How much will the incident cost?
As we’ve mentioned above, minor damages that you can pay for out of pocket should be dealt with privately.
This is especially true if you were the only person to suffer damages and did not injure someone or damage property.
However, if the damages were more significant, then filing a claim with your insurance company will make sense.
In other words, if it will cost you more to fix your car or pay for damages to property than the cost of your deductible, then you should file an insurance claim.
How Long Do Car Insurance Companies Have to Settle a Claim – by State?
Insurance companies are required to follow state laws when it comes to settling claims within a specific time frame.
Each state has its own laws and regulations, so it’s important to know how long an insurer in your state will typically take to settle a claim.
If you find that your insurance company has taken too long to settle your claim, you may have grounds for a lawsuit using a car accident lawyer.
|State||Claim Settlement Time Limit|
|Alaska||40 working days|
|Arkansas||45 working days|
|Maryland||30 working days|
|Minnesota||45 working days|
|Nebraska||45 workings days|
|Nevada||80 working days|
|New Hampshire||35 working days|
|New Jersey||40 – 100 days|
|New York||35 working days|
|Rhode Island||55 working days|
|South Dakota||No specific requirements|
|Texas||35 working days|
|Vermont||35 working days|
|Washington||45 working days|
|West Virginia||40 working days|
How Do You File an Auto Insurance Claim?
When a covered accident takes place and the damages are big enough to warrant a claim, be sure to speak to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
Here are the steps that you should take to file an auto insurance claim with your insurance company:
- Contact the local police if the accident is extensive, or involves other property or people. You will need a case number and incident report from the police in order to claim.
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible, even from the scene of the accident, irrespective of who is at fault.
- Use your insurer’s mobile app to lodge the claim. Here you will be able to submit photos, check your deductible, schedule an appraisal, and so forth. Some insurance companies’ apps even allow you to notify the insurance adjuster of what happened during the accident.
- Supply the information that your insurer requests, which typically includes your claim form and possibly a list of the names and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident, along with your police report.
Claims That Take Less Time to Reach Car Accident Settlement
The types of claims that take less time to reach a settlement are generally those involving small accidents or incidents where there is minimal damage to the vehicle.
These claims are also generally cheaper for the insurance company to pay out.
These incidents and claims can include:
- Glass replacement.
- Minor scratches and bodywork.
- Broken mirrors.
- Tire replacement.
- Tire rim repairs.
- Roadside assistance.
Claims That Take More Time to Reach Car Accident Settlement
Generally speaking, the larger and more expensive the car insurance claim, the more time it will take for your insurer to assess and approve your car accident claim.
Incidents that take longer to approve include:
- Any medical claims.
- Major physical damage claims.
- Total loss claims.
How to Speed Up Claim Settlements
There is one key factor that could delay the payment of your claim and this can be avoided.
If you provide information that is in any way inaccurate, it will slow down the claims process because the information will need to be resubmitted and re-evaluated by your insurer.
To speed up the claims process, there are a few steps that you can take:
Be quick when filing: The sooner your insurer has the claim, the quicker they can begin processing it.
Be accurate: Ensure that all the information that you provide is true and correct. This will eliminate the need for any further investigation and correction.
Provide detailed information: The more detail that you are able to provide relating to the accident, the easier it is for your insurer to validate your claim and process a settlement.
Be available for questions: Make sure that you check your phone and email regularly to respond to queries promptly. This will keep the process moving quickly and efficiently.
Why Do Some Auto Insurance Claims Take Longer to Pay Out than Others?
There are various reasons as to why an insurance company may take a long time to settle a car insurance claim.
Often the size of the insurance company matters. Larger insurers have teams of insurance adjusters, whereas a small insurer may have just one.
This will impact the time an insurance adjuster has available to spend analyzing and understanding your claim.
Each insurer will also have differing methods of managing claims in their business. This can make the processing of claims a more intricate process at some insurance companies.
Key Point: What Is An Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster is also often known as a claims adjuster.
This person is responsible for investigating an insurance claim to determine if the insurer should pay for damage or not.
What Can You Do If a Car Insurance Company Is Taking Too Long to Settle?
The best approach to take if you feel that your insurance adjuster is taking too long with a claim, is to reach out and request a status update or report.
You can do this on a regular basis if your insurer does not keep you updated on the progress of your claim.
Some insurers offer mobile applications or online account portals that allow you to track the progress of your claim quickly and easily.
Make a note of the deadline by when your insurance claim should have been settled or ruled upon. If your insurer exceeds this deadline, contact them to negotiate a solution.
If your insurer is not forthcoming with a solution to the delay, you may have grounds for a lawsuit if the claim is not resolved promptly.
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