Car accidents can be jarring and confusing but paying for car insurance means that filing a claim afterward shouldn’t be. Learning when to file a claim, what type of claim to file and what factors affect the settlement timeline can make the process less stressful and more efficient. The first step is to know when it makes sense to file a claim and which car insurance policy types provide the appropriate coverage.
When should you file a claim?
Car insurance is designed to help alleviate the financial burden of an accident. If you’ve been in a car accident, consider the following factors to decide if you should file a claim:
Types of car insurance coverage
|Coverage||Typically required by state?||Covers:||Excludes:|
|Bodily injury liability||Yes||Pays for injuries sustained by others||Injuries sustained by you|
|Property damage liability||Yes||Pays for damages to other’s property||Damage to your own property|
|Collision||No||Pays for damages your vehicle from collisions||Damages to other people’s property and damages to your car caused by weather, theft, vandalism, fire or hitting an animal|
|Comprehensive||No||Pays for damages to your vehicle caused by weather, theft, vandalism, fire or hitting an animal||Damages to other people’s property and damages to your car caused by collisions|
|Uninsured motorist||No||Pays for damages or injuries your vehicle or you sustain if an uninsured driver causes the incident||Damages and injuries to properties and people beyond your own car and its passengers|
|Towing||No||Pays for the cost of towing your vehicle||The cost of towing another vehicle|
|Personal injury protection||No||Pays for the medical expenses of injuries that you or your passengers sustain in an accident||Medical expenses of those outside of your vehicle|
Types of car insurance claims
How long does an auto insurance claim take to settle? The type of claim being filed can play a significant role in that length of time. Depending on the circumstances and the coverage, different types of auto insurance claims can be filed. Each of these claim types undergoes a slightly different process and, as a result, they can vary in how long they take. Some claims are easier to assess and settle than others. In general, the more complicated the incident, the lengthier the claims process.
Medical claims and total loss claims generally take the longest. Inversely, glass replacement and roadside assistance claims often take the least amount of time. The first two tend to deal with more significant sums of money and often involve more people and institutions. This combination makes the determination of the claim more challenging and financially riskier for the insurer.
Claims that take less time to reach settlement
Claims that take more time to reach settlement
Factors that delay a claim settlement
While each claim is a unique situation, in general there are things that can slow down the process, including:
How to speed up claim settlements
Claims take time to settle, but there are things you can do to speed up the process:
Claim settlement laws based on state
Each state has laws about how quickly a claim must be filed and how much time the insurance company has to decide on that claim. So how long does an insurance company have to settle a claim? In general, state laws dictate that insurance companies must settle within roughly a month of accepting a claim. Many of these states add another 15 days on the front end, allowing insurance companies that amount of time to acknowledge the claim before the settlement clock starts ticking.
However, some states, like North Carolina, merely stipulate that insurance companies must settle claims “reasonably promptly” without providing specific guidelines. Many of the best car insurance companies seek to settle claims before they reach these deadlines.
Who is involved in the claims process?
Claims involve a number of different parties, including:
How long does an insurance claim take to settle? It varies, but generally it should take less than 45 days once the company receives the claim. With some preparation and attentiveness, though, you can help speed this process up, or at least avoid slowing it down. Prompt action, clear and honest documentation, and ongoing communication are some of the best tips for a speedy claims process.
This content was originally published here.