- April 10 2023
- | Insurance
No insurance company is the same as another. It can take one company a week to process a claim while other companies have to take much longer. It really does depend on the company and on the individual claim in terms of how long it is going to take for a claim to be filed and completed. So, how long does it take for an insurance company to settle a claim and what does the process look like? Keep reading to find out.
Are There Deadlines for Insurance Companies to Settle Claims?
Nevada regulations require an insurer to begin investigating your claim within 20 working days of receiving it. If the insurer needs more information about the claim, it must send you a “proof of loss” request within that 20-day period. This proof of loss may be a request for additional reports, receipts, or statements about the claim.
Once the proof of loss has been received, the insurer has 30 days to accept or deny the claim as submitted. Once the claim has been accepted, and while the claim is being investigated, the insurer must notify you about the investigation’s status.
If an insurance company fails to meet these deadlines, it could mean the insurance company is acting in bad faith and it is a warning sign to you that something is amiss.
In each state there are different timelines and deadlines that insurance companies have to follow when it comes to the investigation and settling of claims. The general rule is that an insurance company has 20 days from the time that they receive the claim to start investigating. This does not mean that they have to have the claim settled, but that they have 20 business days to start investigating the claim.
The insurer can take those 20 days to do an investigation into the accident and into the claim; they can then take this time to request any additional information that they might need to move forward with the claim. For example, say you were in a car accident and your car was badly damaged. You file a claim on the first day after the accident and the insurance company receives it. They have 20 business days in which they can then request any supporting information that they might need.
They can request things like the incident report from the police, an estimate of damages from a body shop, proof of loss and so on. They also have that time to collect statements from you and from the other person that was involved. After the 20-day period has expired, or after they have received all the information that they requested, they then have 30 business days to either approve or deny the claim.
These time frames are put in place to help ensure that the claim moves through quickly and that the claim does not fall behind and does not get forgotten or pushed back. It is to help ensure that if you are affected by an accident and you need your settlement, you are going to be able to get it in a timely manner so that you do not have to wait too long.
A Deeper Look at the Claims Process
The first step of the claims process after it has been filed is to start the investigation. During this part of the claim, the insurance company will collect and review documents pertaining to the accident. This can be things like:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Your statements
- Photos of the damage
- Estimates from third-party assessors.
These documents are going to help the insurance company get a clear idea of what happened, to make sure they have an accurate idea about what the loss was, an accurate determination of what caused the incident that led to the claim, and so on. With something like a house fire claim, the insurance agency will look at what caused the fire and whether it was something that could have been prevented.
After the initial investigation process, the insurance company has up to 30 business days to move forward with the claim and either approve it and pay out the money you need to take care of the damage or deny it. If your insurance company is stalling for too long, if they are not moving forward with your claim or they are sending the same forms over and over, you may be able to move forward with a claim against the insurance company yourself.
Lack of Assistance Through the Claims Process
The storms that blew through the Reno area this past winter left many people with insurance claims to file. For some, it may be the first time they’ve had to make a claim for snow or wind damage. The insurance company is supposed to help customers file their claims and provide assistance when needed, but that doesn’t always mean they do.
One issue many clients have with their company is the “rotating adjuster.” It is common for insurance companies to have multiple adjusters handle a policy or claim. This leads to frustration when you have to explain your claim for the third time to a new adjuster and ask for help yet again in filling out your forms.
It is always the duty of your insurance company to assist you through your claims process. They are required to help you from start to finish and keep you up to date with the process overall. If you are dealing with an insurance company that does not help you through the process or that does not openly answer your questions during the process, you may be able to take action against them.
Filing Forms the Right Way
And What Do I Need to File a Claim to My Insurance Company?
Many insurance claims are denied the first time they’re submitted. The primary reason for the denial is improperly completed forms. You might think that your insurance company would want you to fill out your form correctly the first time, but they often leave you to figure it out on your own.
When you have questions about how a form should be completed, or are unsure about what documents are required, the first person you should call is your insurance adjuster or agent. Nevada law requires insurers to provide you with the forms and instructions to complete your claim as easily as possible.
If your insurance adjuster or agent isn’t being helpful, it is strongly suggested that you seek legal assistance. You should also keep a careful record of your contact with the adjuster or your agent in case you need to file a bad-faith lawsuit.
Just because your claim is initially denied, this does not mean that you are dealing with a claim that will not be paid out or that you do not have a valid claim. It simply means that the insurance company either needs more information or that there are additional steps you might need to take to get your claim pushed through and to get the settlement you need and deserve.
So, what can be done if you are dealing with an insurance company that is either stringing you along, not moving forward with your claim, or is not working for you the way you feel they should be? You do have the option of filing a bad faith claim against your insurance company to help you get the settlement you need. A bad faith claim is just that: it is a claim against your insurance company that states that they did not uphold their end of the policy and they did not work with you in a timely manner to settle your claim.
If you believe you have been defrauded by your insurer or they have used unfair practices to force you into a settlement, you need to take them to court. To do that, you need the legal services of Leverty & Associates Law Chtd.
Leverty & Associates Law Chtd. represents individuals and businesses in bad faith litigation. We understand that not every denied claim is an example of bad faith. It takes experience and knowledge of Nevada insurance laws, regulations, and practices to determine if your claim was unreasonably denied.
Your insurance company should work for you; they are meant to help serve their clients and when they are not doing that, they do need to be held accountable.
At our firm, we have the unique resources and background to properly evaluate the insurance company’s actions. If you think your insurance company is treating you unfairly, contact us at (775) 322-6636 in Reno or (702) 507-0201 in Las Vegas for a free consultation. We want to help you understand your rights when dealing with an insurance company.