How much time do I have to file a car insurance claim?
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Asked June 6, 2013
While the statute of limitations will vary from one state or insurance company to another, there are some general guidelines that can be followed by everyone to make sure that an auto insurance claim is filed on time. There is also a legal difference between filing against your own policy or filing against the policy of someone else that you should be aware of.
In general an insurance company would like to know about an accident as soon as possible after the accident occurs. However, since accidents can make it difficult or even impossible to file a claim right away, insurers had to develop procedures to allow policyholders some leeway in filing claims. If possible, you should still get the claim process started as quickly as possible, but when that isn't possible, you will not miss the opportunity to file a little later.
If you are filing a claim against another person's insurance, you have plenty of time. Most states will allow you anywhere from 1 to 5 years to file an auto insurance claim. Since portions of a claim may take some time to be sorted out, this period allows the parties involved to seek the medical care they need, make repairs, and get their lives back in order before they are forced to deal with the stress of the accident again during the filing process.
If you are filing a claim against your own insurance policy, you will have considerably less time to file. Most states will allow you up to 91 days to file a claim, allowing for 90 days plus the day of the event. That time could be as little as 30 days, or it could be extended up to the period allowed for filing against someone else. If you are in doubt, contact your insurance company and ask them.
Most police departments have a 5 day grace period for reporting an accident or car-related damages. That amount of time is considered sufficient for you to see to injuries and get your life back in order. Since you will need a police report to file a successful damages claim, the best thing to do is to file the claim immediately after you get the policy report.
Answered June 6, 2013 by Anonymous