How Long Do Car Insurance Claims Take to Settle?

Majority of companies settle small auto insurance claims with minimum fuss and they send the money within days, after the policyholder submits the required estimates and details. Some insurers may assess and settle them automatically too. But they may investigate larger claims to determine fault and check if there is coverage for the damages and injuries. The majority of states mandate that vehicle insurers conduct prompt investigations into claims, imposing specific time constraints typically ranging from 30 to 45 days. The precise duration is contingent upon the state’s regulations and the nature of the claim. After the claim is concluded, you can anticipate receiving a payment within a period of 5 to 30 days depending on the state you live in.

A few factors determine the time it takes to settle claims like complexity of the case, other parties involved, the size of damages and injuries, involvement of lawyers, how fast you submit and how well you document. At times, parties may fail to agree on a figure or availability of the vehicle insurance coverage and it may have to be settled in court.

Usually, most vehicle damage claims are settled within two to four weeks. Injury claims can take months and even longer depending on how fast people recover but the first step is to get the insurer accept the liability, even though the final settlement can be months away.

It is highly advisable to regularly check the progress with the claim adjuster instead of waiting to hear. If you know what is the hold up, you may be able to do something about it. Also, knowing what is going on may reduce the frustration. Besides, you may be holding up the process by not submitting the paperwork in time or in the format required.

Here are some of the common auto insurance claims and roughly how long each one takes to settle.

Small Incidents: Most car insurers are happy to send a check for small losses within several days. They may not even need to inspect damages under $1,000 if you send them estimates and pictures. This is the path they choose to avoid additional cost to investigate every little thing.

Medium Losses: Carriers generally deal with larger damages fast as well. An insurance adjuster may be out in a few days after receiving the details to assess the damages and give a go ahead for the repairs. There may be delays due to booking in your vehicle for repairs and waiting for parts but usually most repairs are carried out in two to four weeks.

Total Loss: Once the adjuster declares the vehicle a total loss, what is left is to negotiate the amount to be paid. Adjusters would determine the Actual Cash Value of a total loss and offer a full automobile insurance settlement fast. However, most experts suggest that it may be a low figure to start with and people may want to carry out their own searches and find out how much their automobiles are worth. Accordingly, they can explain why they want more money and enter into negotiations. Again, this should be fairly quick and people should receive their payment within a few weeks after submitting their claim.

Complicated or Debatable Claims: It can be for a while if the automobile insurer decides to launch an investigation or they are disputing it on the bases of lack of coverage, fault or anything else. Companies usually try to determine who was at fault and if there is coverage for the damages claimed. Third-party insurers would want to make sure that their policyholder was at fault before they accept liability. Most state laws require auto insurance companies to provide an explanation as to why they are delaying a settlement. When things are tangled you may want to seek advice from independent handlers and see if you can employ an expert to work for you.

Deciding on Body Repair Shop: It may be quicker to decide and give a go ahead when insurance approved body shop is chosen. Asking the vehicle to be repaired by a garage you choose may delay things for a few days. The adjuster may have to check that prices are reasonable and they will do a good job. Remember, they will probably continue to insure the car after the repairs. That is why and for other reasons they would want to make sure that the automobile is repaired satisfactorily.

Repairs: How long before they can return the car to you after a go ahead is entirely a different story. If the body shop is busy it may be a week before they start on it. If you don’t know what is going on it may seem like they are dragging their feet. So, keep asking for updates on the progress. Vehicle repairs usually take two to four weeks.

Auto Theft Claims: A stolen car that has never been found would be a total loss. Car insurers may wait up to a month to accept a total loss on a stolen auto, just in case it may turn up. However, if it is found with some damages, it may be repaired.

Injury Claims:They can take a long time to finally conclude since it may take a while for people fully recover and know the exact costs. That is why injury claims can take several months or even longer to fully conclude, depending on the recovery.

Claims Made on Third Party Liability Policies: They can take a little longer especially if the fault isn’t clear-cut. However, insurers have to investigate the case in a timely manner and respond in the time frame set in the state laws. Also, your company and third party driver’s insurer may have to negotiate the fault between themselves to determine how they will handle it between themselves. That is why you need to decide how you will proceed with them and if you would have representation or get your own vehicle insurer involved.

As discussed above, the time it takes to settle an auto insurance claim depends on several factors. At least you can control your end of the equation by providing the required information as soon as possible and regularly contacting them for updates. In most cases, it is best to get on with the things and make alternative arrangements, especially if you have Rental Car Reimbursement coverage.

It’s important to note that specific timelines and procedures can vary depending on the insurance company, state regulations, and the unique circumstances of each claim.