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Filing a claim with your insurance company can be stressful, and you want it cleared up quickly. How long does it take an insurance company to process a claim? The short answer is, usually around 30 days. However, it can vary depending on a few other factors.
Car owners often have other questions about insurance claims, and we have answers. How long does an insurance claim take? How do insurance companies pay out claims? Is there a way to prevent claim delays? Read on to find out.
- Insurance claims typically take about one month to resolve.
- The length of time that it takes to resolve a claim depends on the state and the type of claim.
- Typically, bodily injury claims take longer to settle than property damage claims.
- In some states, you can wait up to one year or longer to file a claim after a collision.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- How long does an insurance claim take?
- Why do insurance companies take so long to pay out?
- How to prevent delays when filing an insurance claim
- What to do if your insurance claim is taking a long time
- How to file a car insurance claim
- When not to file an auto insurance claim
- How do insurance companies pay out claims?
- When will car insurance not pay out?
- Is there a time limit to file an insurance claim?
- How long after an accident can you file an insurance claim?
- Frequently asked questions
How long does an insurance claim take?
The car insurance claim process can be resolved in as little as a few weeks, or as long as a few months. The insurance claim time frame depends on the insurer, the state, and the type of claim.
Most states protect consumers by encouraging insurance companies to handle car accident claims promptly. Some states even require a specific settlement period, like 30 days. Here are some examples:
- California - Insurers have 40 days to accept or reject a claim and then 30 days to issue payment once a settlement is agreed upon.
- North Carolina - Insurers have 30 days to acknowledge a claim and then 10 days after settlement to pay the claim.
- Texas - Insurers have 30 days to accept or reject a claim and then five days to issue payment once a settlement is agreed upon.
However, the amount of time for the claims process usually depends on the specific claim. For instance, personal injury claims take longer to resolve than property damage claims.
Why do insurance companies take so long to pay out?
There are a variety of reasons for delayed claim payouts. Some of these factors are in your control, but unfortunately, some of them aren't. Here are a few of the biggest reason:
- Severity of the injuries: If a driver is badly injured in a car accident, expect the settlement to take longer. The driver has to finish treatment in order to determine how much money they can get.
- Dispute over which driver was responsible: After an accident, it’s not always immediately clear who was responsible. If there is a dispute about each driver’s negligence, it’s going to take the insurance companies longer to settle the claim.
- Back-and-forth negotiations: In general, settlement negotiations can take a lot of time. There’s usually a good amount of back-and-forth between lawyers, victims, and the car insurance companies.
It's also important to mention that some insurance companies are just slower to pay out claims than others. For example, if you work with a small insurance carrier that only has one adjuster, it could take much longer to receive your payout. Large insurance companies have teams of adjusters who work to resolve claims all day long.
How to prevent delays when filing an insurance claim
Dealing with a delayed claim can be incredibly frustrating. Below are some ways that you can prevent a delay when filing a claim:
- Gather as much information as possible: After the accident, take lots of photos of the damage, write down when and where the accident took place, and a description of what happened. That way, the insurance company won’t have to track down this information in the future.
- Research the laws in your state: As mentioned, some states require insurance companies to settle claims within a certain time period. Know the laws in your state, and if the insurance company is taking too long, let them know or hire a lawyer to back you up.
- Be proactive: The truth is, settling claims can take time. If you feel like your insurer is dragging their feet, don’t be afraid to reach out proactively and get an update. Don’t wait for them to contact you.
If you find yourself waiting months for a claim to get resolved, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a log of every conversation you have with the insurer, including the date and next steps.
- Respond to requests and complete paperwork as soon as possible to keep things moving forward.
- Digitize copies of accident reports and damage evidence in case you need to share them around.
- Never lie to your insurance company — It will eventually come the light, and it will slow down the process significantly.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to avoid claim delays is to work with a reliable insurance company.
TIP"It's important to choose a reputable insurance provider to avoid issues like delayed claims," says Lauren Mckenzie, a licensed insurance broker at LearnandServe.org, an affiliate of A Plus Insurance.
"Just because a company may be the cheapest, doesn't mean it has the best ratings when it comes to claim processing. Pay close attention to reviews and third-party ratings to get a good sense of a company's customer satisfaction and claim satisfaction before you buy a policy," she says.
What to do if your insurance claim is taking a long time
If your insurance company is taking a long time to process a claim, you can take matters into your own hands. Reach out to the adjuster who is overseeing your claim and ask for an update on where they are in the process -- and what you can do to expedite things.
TIP"The best thing you can do to speed up the claim process is to make sure you are cooperating," Mckenzie says. "In many cases, insurance adjusters need additional information from you and other drivers involved. And if someone can't be reached, it slows the claims process down."
If your state specifies a time limit in which insurers must resolve claims, make a note of the deadline. If the date passes, notify your insurance company right away. Depending on your state's laws, you might have grounds for a lawsuit if the claim doesn't get resolved promptly.
How to file a car insurance claim
Filing a claim should ideally start at the scene of the accident. After you assess the situation and make sure all drivers involved are OK, here are the steps you should take:
1. Call the police: Calling the police after an accident is a smart idea, even if there are no injuries. An officer can investigate the collision and take statements, which can expedite the claim process.
2. Exchange information with other drivers: Get contact information and insurance details from the other drivers involved, including their insurance company and policy number.
3. Gather evidence of the damage: Take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the accident scene. Insurers can use this information to figure out who’s to blame.
4. Call your car insurance company: If you were at fault, contact your insurance company’s claim department. You’ll be given paperwork to complete, which is where you’ll attach the photo evidence and police report. Your insurance company will contact the other driver’s insurer, and the two will handle the claim.
If you did not cause the accident, you’ll want to follow the steps above and file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. It’s also a good idea to alert your insurance company to keep them in the loop even if a claim won't be filed through them.
When not to file an auto insurance claim
If you have car insurance, you should file a claim whenever your car gets damaged, right? Well, not exactly.
Before you report a claim, you’ll want to think about:
- The amount of damage
- Your deductible
- How a claim will impact your rate
- Whether anyone else was involved in the accident
If your car suffered damage that was less than or similar to your deductible amount, it’s probably best for you to handle the repairs yourself. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay your deductible and your insurance company could raise your rate. Insurers increase car insurance premiums between 26% and 32%, on average, after an accident. That's between $360 to $460 extra premium a year, on average.
Also, you may not want to file a claim if the only vehicle involved is yours, depending on the severity of the damage.
How do insurance companies pay out claims?
If you cause the accident, your property damage coverage will pay for the other driver’s vehicle repairs and your bodily injury coverage will pay for their accident-related expenses if they were injured. The only exception is in no-fault states, where a driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for their injuries.
If you have a full coverage policy withcollision coverage, your insurance company will pay an insurance settlement for your vehicle’s repairs, up to your car's actual cash value. You will also have to pay your collision deductible.
So, who gets the money? If another driver is to blame and that driver’s insurance is paying for repairs, the insurer usually pays the insurance settlement to you or the body shop directly. However, if you have a lease or finance your car, the insurer will likely make the claim check out to you and the leaseholder or lienholder.
When will car insurance not pay out?
Just because you think a loss is covered, doesn't mean that you are automatically entitled to a payout. There are a number of situations where your car insurance company will not give you any money after a claim. The most common is that it's simply not covered by your policy. If you are in an at-fault accident and don't have collision coverage, the damage to your car isn't covered.
There may also be other coverage issues.
"All claims are subject to investigation. For example, if the incident in question happened before you got car insurance, it will get denied because your policy does not cover you retroactively, " Mckenzie says.
Claims also can get denied if the insurance adjuster does not have sufficient proof of what happened and who was at fault.
TIP"If you get into an accident and don't call the police, there's no official report to verify the details of the incident. If the claim adjuster can't determine what happened and who was liable using other evidence, your claim might get denied, " Mckenzie says.
In addition, your insurance company may not pay a claim if it finds out that you lied on your application. For instance, if you fail to disclose previous traffic violations, or lie about your age to get a cheaper rate, your insurance company may deny your claim. Lying on your car insurance application is considered fraud, and you can face additional consequences if you get caught.
Is there a time limit to file an insurance claim?
You only have a certain amount of time to file a car insurance claim after the incident occurs. This is called the statute of limitations and it's different in every state. In most states, the insurance-claim time limit is between two and four years from the date of the loss. You are allowed to file claims after the statute of limitations ends, but the insurance company is not required to provide a payout.
How long after an accident can you file an insurance claim?
The length of time you have to file a claim after a crash varies based on your state and the type of claim.
In many states, the statute of limitations is between two and four years. Check with your state’s insurance department to see how long you have to file.
Frequently asked questions
What if the insurance company doesn’t pay what they promised?
In this case, you have the right to know why your claim payout was lowered or denied. If you believe that you deserve a higher payout, your best option is to consult a lawyer who can talk to the insurer on your behalf. In some states, you may be able to take your insurer to small claims court to get the money you’re entitled to.
What is bad faith in an insurance claim?
An insurance "bad faith" claims handling is when your insurance company deliberately does something to hurt your chances of receiving a fair payout. Examples include denying legitimate claims, underpaying claims, taking a long time to process a claim or misrepresenting your policy so you get a lower payout. If you suspect insurance bad faith, address the issue with your insurance company and if that does not resolve the issue, be prepared to consult an attorney.
Can you sue an insurance company for taking too long with your claim?
You are allowed to sue your insurance company for taking too long to resolve a claim. But if your state doesn’t have laws around the length of time an insurer has to resolve a claim, you probably don’t have grounds for a lawsuit.
How soon can you file a claim after getting insurance?
There's no waiting period for filing a claim with your car insurance company. If you purchase an insurance policy on Monday and you get into an accident on Tuesday, you are allowed to file a claim with no restrictions. As long as the incident occurs after your policy's effective time and date, you are covered.
When does an insurance company need to provide a payout?
Your insurance policy is essentially a contract between you and your insurer. Therefore, your insurance company is obligated to provide a payout when you experience a loss that is covered under the terms of the policy.
However, keep in mind that certain circumstances can prevent you from getting the money. For example, if you get into an accident and, during the investigation, the insurance adjuster discovers that you lied on your application. In such a case your claim could get denied, even though the loss was technically covered based on the policy agreement.
How fast do insurance companies pay out claims? ›
A: California state law requires insurance carriers to settle claims within 85 days after the date of filing. Other deadlines come into play when contacting claimants and completing other steps in the auto insurance claim process.How long can an insurance company take to respond to a claim? ›
California Law: How Long an Insurance Company Has to Respond
State law says that insurance policyholders are entitled to prompt and timely communications from the insurance company. California gives insurance companies 15 calendar days to issue an initial response after receiving a claim.
Is there a time limit for insurance claim settlements? Generally, the insurance company has about 30 days to investigate your auto insurance claim, though the number of days vary by state.Do insurance companies have a time limit? ›
The answer to this is 'No'. However, insurers will check whether the policy was active at the time of the event . Moreover, they also investigate the reasons for filing such delayed claims. Life insurance: There is no time limit set for nominees to intimate the claim after the death of the policyholder.Can you sue an insurance company for taking too long? ›
Insurers can be sued for unreasonable delay in the claim process even prior to giving you an adverse claim decision.Why do insurance companies take so long to pay a claim? ›
Insurance companies may conduct an extensive investigation into an accident to determine fault and liability. This is one reason why it may take a long time for insurance companies to pay out.How long does an insurance company have to make a decision? ›
In general, the insurer must complete an investigation within 30 days of receiving your claim. If they cannot complete their investigation within 30 days, they will need to explain in writing why they need more time. The insurance company will need to send you a case update every 45 days after this initial letter.How long do you have to respond to a claim? ›
You need to reply to the letter of claim within 30 days using the reply form, which should be included. You can agree that you owe all of the money, some of the money or none of the money. You can also request more information if you aren't sure.How long should an insurance claim take to be completed? ›
The time that it takes an insurance claim to finalise could be anywhere between a week, a month or even a year. It depends on a number of factors, such as the type of claim, the complexity of the situation, how severe the damage is and how many people are involved in the process.What happens if a claim is taking too long? ›
You lodge a dispute by calling the insurer and saying that you have a dispute or complaint about the delay in making a decision on your claim. Insurers have to comply with time-frames in the General Insurance Code of Practice.
Do insurance companies try to get out of paying? ›
If they're not able to deny your claim for damages, insurance companies will try to minimize the severity of your injuries in an attempt to minimize what they have to pay you. This is more apt to happen with injuries they consider healable such as broken bones and whiplash.How can I speed up my insurance claim? ›
Contact Your Insurer Immediately
The sooner you contact your insurer to file a claim, the easier it will be for your adjuster to make the necessary inquiries to get your claim moving along. Call your insurance company as soon as possible – ideally from the scene of the accident, if you can do so safely.
A short period — usually 90 days — after your monthly health insurance payment is due. If you haven't made your payment, you may do so during the grace period and avoid losing your health coverage.How long does it take for an adjuster to make a decision? ›
Usually, you'll hear from an insurance adjuster within three days of making the claim to discuss matters. If they need to survey the damage, it can be a few more days. If you use a repair garage that is affiliated with (or at least approved by) your insurance company, the process can speed up a bit.Do all insurance companies have a grace period? ›
Not all insurance companies have grace periods. Your policy will define whether there's a grace period, how long the period is, what penalties come with it, and whether a claim will be paid if payment is received within that period of time.Why do insurance companies drag out claims? ›
Dragging Out a Case
The insurance company knows that you need money. It might want to wear you down by delaying settlement so that you give up and accept a lower offer so that you can get money in your pocket. The other reason for delaying a case might be to create a statute of limitations defense.
Call Your Insurance Adjuster's Manager
If your claims adjuster is not responding to you, call the insurance company operator/customer service phone number and for the name and number of your insurance adjuster's manager. Call the manager and advise what's been going on.
Immediately notify the insurance company—via phone and in writing via a follow-up letter or email—that you disagree with their finding of fault and intend to take action by presenting new evidence and/or explaining/reframing the existing fault picture.How do most insurance companies pay out when there is a claim? ›
Once the insurance company sends an adjuster and evaluates the damage to your home, they'll pay a settlement amount in either replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost gives you funds to cover the costs to rebuild your home or repair damages using similar materials.Why do insurance adjusters take so long? ›
The most common reason for an insurer's delay is the adjuster's case load. An adjuster likely has dozens of claims to handle at a time. Many decisions made by insurers require the approval of one or more superiors, who also will have many other claims to review.
What happens if an insurance company is delayed claim? ›
Any delay in payment of the claim will attract a penalty. In the case of settlement of a death claim, the insurance company has to complete the investigation within 90 days of submission of claim and not 180 days as was mandated previously.How often are insurance appeals successful? ›
In 2021, HealthCare.gov consumers appealed less than two-tenths of 1% of denied in-network claims, and insurers upheld most (59%) denials on appeal.How long does a defendant have to respond to a claim? ›
If they send you an acknowledgement of service, they have 28 days to send you a reply. The 28 days start from when they receive the details of your claim. If you used Money Claims, the defendant has 19 days from the day the claim is made. If they need longer, they must tell the court.What happens if defendant does not respond to claim? ›
If the defendant does not reply to your claim, you can ask the court to enter judgment 'by default' (that is, make an order that the defendant pay you the amount you have claimed because no reply has been received).How long do claim negotiations take? ›
Overall, the settlement negotiation process typically takes a few weeks to a few months. If all goes well, you and the other party will agree to a fair settlement for your damages.Can a car insurance company refuse to pay a claim? ›
Your insurer must give you a reason for refusing to pay your claim. Check the details of your policy carefully to make sure that their decision is reasonable. If you think your insurer is being unreasonable in refusing your claim, you can try to negotiate with them.What are the stages of an insurance claim? ›
- Connect with your broker. Your broker is your primary contact when it comes to your insurance policy – they should understand your situation and how to proceed. ...
- Claim investigation begins. ...
- Your policy is reviewed. ...
- Damage evaluation is conducted. ...
- Payment is arranged.
It can take as little as 7-8 days, and up to more than 30 days, to reach a settlement in cases that only involve property damage once negotiations between your personal injury lawyer and the adjuster begin.What to do when insurance company takes too long? ›
What to do if your insurance claim is taking a long time. If your insurance company is taking a long time to process a claim, you can take matters into your own hands. Reach out to the adjuster who is overseeing your claim and ask for an update on where they are in the process -- and what you can do to expedite things.Do insurance companies have to offer cash settlement? ›
“This means the insurer must exercise its discretion to cash settle in a fair and reasonable way, and the settlement amount must be sufficient for the policyholder to arrange repairs,” AFCA states.
Do insurance companies want to settle quickly? ›
Insurance companies want to spend as little time and money as possible on each claim. Quick settlements help them achieve this goal. But quick settlements are usually unfair for accident victims because the value of most accident claims is much higher than initial settlement offers.What are 5 reasons a claim might be denied for payment? ›
- Your claim was filed too late. ...
- Lack of proper authorization. ...
- The insurance company lost the claim and it expired. ...
- Lack of medical necessity. ...
- Coverage exclusion or exhaustion. ...
- A pre-existing condition. ...
- Incorrect coding. ...
- Lack of progress.
Insurance claims are often denied if there is a dispute as to fault or liability. Companies will only agree to pay you if there's clear evidence to show that their policyholder is to blame for your injuries. If there is any indication that their policyholder isn't responsible the insurer will deny your claim.Can you ask for more money from insurance claim? ›
Negotiating with the car insurance company. If the adjuster's initial offer is far below the estimates you gathered, you should negotiate with the insurance company. You don't have to file a lawsuit to start. These discussions can take place in person or via email, but you'll want to get the final decision in writing.Does your insurance go up a lot after a claim? ›
Will my car insurance increase after an accident? The short answer unfortunately is yes. Regardless of whose fault it was, making a claim will almost always lead to an increase in your car insurance premium.How often do insurance companies deny claims? ›
Fortunately for the majority of Americans, most insurance claims get approved. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the health insurance industry averages a 5% to 10% denial rate. So 90 to 95% of claims get approved every year.What is a 30 day grace period? ›
A grace period allows a borrower or insurance customer to delay payment for a short period of time beyond the due date. During this period no late fees are charged, and the delay cannot result in default or cancellation of the loan or contract.How long is a typical grace period? ›
A period of time during which a debtor is not required to make payments on a debt or will not be charged a fee. For example, most credit cards offer a grace period of 20 to 30 days before interest is charged on purchases; as long as you pay your bill in full within the grace period, you won't owe any interest.How long can an insurance policy lapse? ›
Grace periods typically last around 30 days, depending on your policy. Under certain circumstances, some insurers may extend it up to 60 or 90 days.Do insurance adjusters follow you around? ›
While the insurance company may follow you at any time, there are certain times where it is most likely to occur. We typically see insurance companies conduct surveillance around claim-related appointments. These claim-related appointments could include IMEs or interviews with insurance representatives.
How do you haggle with an insurance adjuster? ›
- 1 – Start With A Settlement Amount in Mind. ...
- 2 – Don't Take the First Offer. ...
- 3 – Make Sure You Tell Them About The Emotional Damage. ...
- 4 – Get The Final Settlement In Writing.
Yes, State Farm lets you pay late. As long as you pay within 10 days after the due date posted on your bill, you will have coverage in the meantime thanks to State Farm's grace period, and you won't even owe a late fee. State Farm will send a cancellation notice within 10 days of your bill's original due date.What is Geico grace period? ›
Geico has a nine-day grace period if you can't make your payment on time. After that, your policy might be canceled. Geico does not have a late payment fee, but if you miss a payment, they will send a formal cancellation notice within 14 days of the original due date.Do all insurance policies have a waiting period? ›
Various insurance policies can have waiting periods, including homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and short-term disability. Waiting periods are often used by companies that experience high turnover rates. Some private health insurance plans have longer wait periods, such as for cancer or maternity care.How long does it take to receive an insurance payout? ›
Many states require insurance companies to reach a settlement within 30 to 45 days after accepting a claim. The time it takes for a claim to settle also depends on the inciting incident. Claims without injuries and with a clear at-fault driver are quickest.How long does an accident claim take to pay out? ›
How long does a compensation payment take to come through? Once your claim has been settled, your compensation will normally be paid to you quite quickly - usually within 2 weeks to a month. If your case is settled in court, the judge will give a deadline for you to receive your compensation by.How long should an insurance claim take to process? ›
A claims process can take anything from a few days to weeks or even months. The speed of the process depends very much on factors like: How soon after the incident you report it – the sooner you get your claim in, the sooner the insurance provider can start processing it.How long does it take to receive money from insurance company? ›
In most cases, you should receive your claim payout within 30 days. If it's approved and you have a car loan, your insurance company may be coordinating with your lender for the payout.How do insurance claim payouts work? ›
Once the insurance company sends an adjuster and evaluates the damage to your home, they'll pay a settlement amount in either replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost gives you funds to cover the costs to rebuild your home or repair damages using similar materials.What is a good settlement offer for a car accident? ›
A good car accident settlement offer is one that fully covers your medical expenses, property damage, and time off from work. It compensates you adequately for the pain and trauma you have experienced related to the accident. A skilled attorney can evaluate your settlement offer and advise you if it is reasonable.
Should I accept the first offer of compensation? ›
you don't have to accept any offer that's made to you. If you do accept an offer it might be lower than the compensation you would have got if you'd used a solicitor or gone to court instead. don't feel under any pressure to make a decision quickly.How much do you get for whiplash? ›
The amount of compensation you may be able to claim for whiplash injuries changed in May 2021. The amount of compensation you can claim for whiplash range from £240 up to £4,215, depending on the length of time you suffer from your injuries.What should you not say to your insurance company after an accident? ›
While you must notify the insurance company of the accident, you should not explain the details of the accident, your injuries, or other potential damages at this time. Your lawyer can do that for you.How long does it usually take for a claim to process? ›
It can take as little as 7-8 days, and up to more than 30 days, to reach a settlement in cases that only involve property damage once negotiations between your personal injury lawyer and the adjuster begin.