In Nevada, there are insurance regulations on how to process claims. One of the regulations says that the insurer must establish procedures to begin investigating the claim within 20 working days.
However, sometimes the insurance company mails a notice called a “proof of loss statement,” saying that the insurer needs more proof about your loss and insurance company will claim to need other items completed by you in order to process your claim.
Once the insurance company receives proof from the insured or from the claimant, the insurance company is required by law to make a decision to accept, reject, or deny the claim within 30 days of receipt of that proof.
Lack of assistance through the claims process
Though the insurance company should be, it is not always involved in a positive way with the claims process. Insurance companies are supposed to help their insured with filing the claim, but often people are left to fend for themselves when it comes to assessing their own damage and navigating through the claims process.
Let’s say you’ve been paying insurance on a homeowner’s policy for 30 years and never have had a claim. This may be the first time in your life you have had to go through the insurance claims process. It’s a totally new process for you, it’s not a straightforward process, and you don’t always get much help with it from the insurance company representatives – all after possibly suffering a significant loss to your home.
Your insurance company is supposed to be helping you with the process and supplying you with what you need. Part of that is instructing you how to accurately complete the forms, for examples, the proof of loss form and where you should state the “actual cash value” of an item.
“Actual Cash Value” of your loss
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand what “actual cash value” means. Typically it’s a dollar amount for what it would cost you to replace that item if you had to purchase it (or its equal) all over again minus the age of the item.
Delays in the claim processing timeline
The insurance company initially should get all the information they need from the insured. Then, once the insured returns everything, including the proof of loss, the insurance company has the duty to accept or reject the claim within 30 days.
If the insurance company needs additional time to do its investigation, the insurance company is mandated to write a letter to the insured, explain what additional information is needed to complete their claim, and then ask for 30 days more to complete it.
However, often times the insurance company does not provide all of the forms needed, and sometimes asks for the same information again and again, delaying the process.
Besides not making a decision within the required 30 days, the insurance company may fail to send out a letter telling the claimant that further investigation is needed, or the insurance company may not state what additional information is needed for the investigation. All of these actions violate Nevada’s unfair claims handling act and Nevada’s minimum claims handling standards.
If you’re in this situation, you might feel like the company is fighting you on everything, and taking an adversarial position on claims. That’s not the way it is supposed to be handled, but it often happens, and when it does, you should consult with an experienced insurance attorney who understands the insurance claims process.