UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Filing a car insurance claim can be a stressful experience. Car insurance claims become even more stressful, however, when it’s taking a long time to receive your payout.
How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a claim? How long do you have to wait before receiving a check from your insurance company? Today, we’re answering any questions you might have about insurance payouts and timelines.
Most Auto Insurance Companies Set a 30 Day Goal
Most auto insurance companies have a goal of completing your claim within 30 days.
That means if you get into an accident on June 1, then your claim should be settled by July 1. Whether you’re in a fender bender or you’ve totaled your vehicle, the insurance company wants to complete your claim within 30 days, maximum. That means your claim is settled, paid, and completed.
Of course, the real length of time varies widely between insurance claims. More complicated claims may take months, for example. If there’s a dispute between the insurance company and the insured driver, then this can increase the length of the claims process even further.
If there are no disputes on your claim and you have provided complete documentation, then you have what’s known as a “clean claim”. A clean claim is for a straightforward accident with complete documentation and no major disputes.
Some States Have Laws Requiring Companies to Process a Claim Within 15 to 60 Days
Some states have laws requiring insurance companies to process a claim within a certain length of time.
Many states have laws requiring an insurance company to acknowledge a claim has been made within 15 days of the customer making the claim, for example.
Other states have laws regarding the length of time the insurance company has to pay a claim. Insurance companies in New Jersey, for example, need to pay a bodily injury claim within 60 days. Insurance companies in Texas, meanwhile, need to pay a claim within 5 days of the customer accepting the claim.
Insurance companies who don’t comply with state-mandated deadlines may face interest, fines, or penalties.
Your Insurance Company May Provide Some Money to You Immediately
Immediately after an incident takes place, the insurance company may provide you with a certain amount of money to cover initial expenses – like roadside assistance.
Sometimes, these claims are deposited into your account immediately. In other cases, the insurance company reimburses you for these expenses before the remaining claim is processed – say, within 5 to 8 business days.
Injury Claims Take the Longest to Process
If you were in a minor fender bender, then your claim should be complete within a relatively short period of time. It’s an easy case with minor damage to both your vehicle and yourself.
However, if your claim involves medical bills, lost wages, and other compensation, then it can significantly increase the length of time of your payout. Medical claims, for example, take the longest to process. The insurance company will need to coordinate with your healthcare provider. They may need to request medical records. It can take months before you receive complete compensation.
What Can Delay the Payout from My Insurance Company?
A number of things can delay the payout from your insurance company, including all of the following:
Poor communication. Maybe you’re bad at responding to your insurance company. Maybe your insurance company is bad at responding to you. In any case, poor communication can significantly delay your claim payout.
You’re unhappy with your coverage, or you’re disputing parts of your coverage. Some people are surprised to discover what’s covered and what isn’t covered under their auto insurance policy. You might dispute certain coverage with your insurance company, which can add time to the payout.
You’re unhappy with the repairs. Your car has been repaired but you’re unhappy with the repairs. In this case, you might request the auto shop to fix the issue, and then ask the insurance company to pay for the added repairs.
It’s a natural disaster claim. If a natural disaster recently swept through your city, then there may be thousands of people simultaneously making car insurance claims. This is common after a hailstorm or severe thunderstorm.
You haven’t paid the deductible. Your insurance company can begin the repair process when they receive your deductible. If you don’t have cash for the deductible, then your claims process will be delayed until you pay the deductible.
Ultimately, it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to pay your claim as quickly as possible. The faster they pay your claim, the more satisfied you’ll be with their business. Typically, a “clean claim” with no disputes and complete documentation will be paid within 30 days, maximum. However, more complicated cases with disputes or incomplete documentation could take several months.