How Long Can An Auto Insurance Claim Stay Open?

Last Updated on May 21, 2020

The purpose of having auto insurance is to protect you from having to pay the cost of damages. In the event that you are involved in an accident or your vehicle is damaged or stolen and you have to file a claim, you want to have it paid out as soon as possible.

You have been paying your premiums on time, so you would expect that your auto insurance provider would respond to your claims and reimburse you quickly. But that’s not always the case.

Read on to find out more about how long a car insurance claim can stay open and when you can expect to be compensated.

Factors that Affect the Time it Takes to Settle an Auto Insurance Claim

how long can insurance claim stay openWhen it comes to auto insurance claims, the amount of time it will take for your provider to settle it depends on several factors. These factors include the following:

  • The policies of your individual auto insurance provider
  • The regulations established by your state
  • The unique case surrounding your claim
  • The type of claim you are filing
  • The severity of the accident
  • The legal complexity of the case

State Regulations and Auto Insurance Claims

Most states have established regulations that highlight how fast auto insurance providers are required to settle a claim. In some states, these regulations are quite specific, while in others, the regulations aren’t so specific, but rather, they have to be settled within a reasonable period of time. To find out what your state regulations are regarding auto insurance claims, contact the Department of Insurance for your specific state, or speak to a reputable insurance agent.

Insurance Providers and Insurance Claims

Each individual auto insurance provider has different policies in place regarding claims. This includes how claims are filed (some require claims to be filed over the phone or in person, while others might allow you to file a claim online). Whatever the process for filing a claim may be, once you start the process, there certain timelines that your insurance provider must adhere to, and those timelines are established by the insurance company. This includes how long it takes to assign an insurance or claims adjuster to your case, how long it takes to conduct an investigation for your specific case, and when all of the bills that your policy covers will be paid.

There are insurance companies that do have better reputations regarding the length of time it takes for them to settle claims. When you are shopping around for auto insurance, how long it will take the company to settle claims is a big factor to consider.

The Type of Claim You are Making

The type of claim you are making can also affect how long it will take your auto insurance company to settle. For example, claims concerning bodily injury are usually settled much faster than those that involved damaged or stolen property. The reason? – Bodily injuries have to pay taken care of as quickly as possible, and as such, insurance agencies will need to pay out claims promptly to ensure that those who are in need of medical care will have their medical bills paid for.

With that said, there is a statute of limitations for bodily injury claims. You must comply with the statute of limitations in order for your auto insurance provider to settle the claim. If not, there is a chance that your claim will not be paid out. Statutes of limitations protect auto insurance agencies from having to pay for false claims; for example, if you file a claim stating that you sustained whiplash as a result of an auto accident that occurred a year ago, it is likely that your insurance provider will not pay out the claim.

With property damage claims, the process will usually take longer. A thorough investigation will need to be conducted, which can take time. Furthermore, property damage isn’t as pressing as injuries, and therefore, these types of claims to not need to be reimbursed as quickly.

How Long Will Your Claim Stay Open? The Bottom Line

As mentioned, it really depends on your unique situation, including your auto insurance company, the type of claim you are filing, and where you reside.

To find out how long you can expect an auto insurance claim to stay open, speak to a trusted agent that specializes in auto insurance. If your claim is covered by your insurance provider, you should receive compensation. However, if it seems like it is taking too long for your insurance company to pay out the claim, contact them. Insurance providers are required to share information with you regarding the status of your claim. If you feel that the case is being dragged out and you have followed the process for filing a claim, and you know that what you are filing a claim for is covered by your policy, you may need to take further action.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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