Accidents truly can ruin a person’s week and the logistics of insurance, repairs and rental cars that come next aren’t tons of fun either. Filing an insurance claim and following the process of getting a claim paid out can be a bit overwhelming, especially for first time filers.
Getting an insurance claim paid is not an entirely unilateral process. There are a ton of moving parts (i.e. different parties involved) and any one of them not cooperating with the rest can hold up your claim.
On average you can expect any type of insurance claim to take 2 weeks to repair and return your vehicle to you. However this will depend on what type of claim you are making and how severe the damage to the car is. Messy claims with undetermined fault will take sometimes a month whereas claims involving an injury don’t settle until medical treatment has stopped which can take months or years. For specifics on the time frame relative to each type of claim, see our section on types of claims.
It Takes A Village
Getting a claim paid out can take a while, and that is because there are a ton of people involved in the process of assessing the car and the accident report to determine fault, but also these individuals have to work together to accomplish your repairs in a timely fashion. If the body shop isn’t able to work with the timeframe or the claims department isn’t ready to pay the mechanic then you could see delays. Remember this process has a lot of moving parts which can make
Should You File A Claim At All
Yes that’s right, filing an insurance claim in every situation isn’t always the smart move. Whether you should or shouldn’t file will depend on what happened and who your insurer is. If you have an insurance policy that mandates you report any and all damage to the car (typically this is the case with a leased or financed vehicle), then you should absolutely report any accident you had no matter how minor it was.
In most cases it is a wise idea to report an accident and damages to your vehicle to your insurer and file a claim. In most accidents, whether they are rear end, T bone or front end collisions, the best thing to do is have your insurer pay for the damages.
Some exceptions to this are if the responsible party wants to pay for the damages out of pocket and this is something all parties in the accident are comfortable with. If you are in an accident not involving anyone else’s property but your own, you may want to get an estimate before filing a claim. In some cases it will be cheaper to fix the damages yourself. Some insurance agencies will raise your rates after you file a claim.
What Types Of Claims Are There
There are a variety of claims that a person can make depending on the situation of the accident. Besides the standard liability and collision claims, there are also comprehensive claims, roadside assistance claims, medical claims, glass replacement claims and physical damage claims. Check out our list below of claims, what they are and how long on average they take to repair!
Roadside Assistance Claims
With certain insurance policies, you get reimbursed for using outside roadside assistance companies for things like emergency gas supplies, help with flat tires, battery replacement and emergency towing. With these types of claims, it will typically take on average 1 week for your insurer to pay out this claim amount, however it can take up to two weeks for you to receive a check.
This is a claim involving any of the glass windows in your car. The most common insurance claim made every year in the United States involves a cracked or damaged windshield. Because they are so common and easy to replace, most insurers have their own mobile glass replacement branches or employ an outside company to take care of these claims on behalf of the insurer. In some states, like Florida, you don’t even have to file a claim because the state pays for damaged windshield replacement. You can expect this claim to take a few days to be resolved, however in most cases it can be resolved the same day you file.
Physical Damage Claims
Claims involving damage to individual property can vary in terms of time to resolve. Factors that affect the time frame of these claims include the dispute of fault. If there is any sort of argument on who was at fault for the accident the claims process will stretch out significantly. Though an adjuster will typically contact you in 1- 3 days, typically this process will take about two weeks to resolve, though a messy argument on fault can stretch this out to a 3 week time frame and a case where there is no dispute on responsibility will take closer to a week.
These are the types of claims that tend to really drag out. Medical claims are not typically resolved until the medical treatment has concluded. Because of this fact alone, medical claims tend to be the messiest and the longest process.
So there you have it, these are the most common types of claims you will have to file. Roadside assistance claims are going to be the fastest to reimburse you with some insurers providing complimentary roadside assistance free of charge. Medical claims on the other hand can drag out for months or years depending on the severity of the injuries caused by the accident. Glass and physical damage claims will fall somewhere in the 1- 3 week range. Let’s dive deeper into some of these types of claims.
The Reality Of Insurance Timelines
As much as insurers do their best to work toward a deadline, sometimes life happens. Generally speaking, insurers are trying to get your claim filled as quickly as they can. Insurance companies are just a business and the company makes less money the longer the claim plays out as more of their employees time is taken up.
A goal for most insurers is to have every claim paid in 30 days, this however isn’t a firm deadline and in certain scenarios claims can take double and triple that time frame to complete. Some factors that impact the time frame include:
- The overall damages
- Who was at fault
- What state you live in and the local laws
- Your insurance company
- Personal injury claims
Depending on the severity of the damages, the timeframe will shift. Especially if your insurer is having to pay a body shop or if they are declaring your vehicle a total loss.
Fault Of Accident
If there is a dispute about who was at fault for the accident then the process of resolving the claim will take longer as the two insurance companies fight about it. If you’re lucky, the other party involved in the accident will have the same insurer as you and it will be a simple internal process.
What State You Live In
local governments have different laws regarding the time frame of insurance claims. Some states require claims be filed within a certain time frame as well. With all states, the faster you file the more quickly the claim will be paid. Most insurers have a timeframe in your policy that mandates how long after an accident occurred that a claim can be filed.
Some insurers, like USAA, are better at getting claims paid more quickly. You really get what you pay for with insurers so if you go the cheapest route, like getting insurance through a shady company like Geico, expect to wait and expect to deal with some crap and pushback on your claim. You can also expect your rates to go up if you file a claim with most insurers.
So How Long Do Claims Really Take To Settle?
You can expert your claim to be paid out on average in 2-3 weeks however it isn’t so cut and dry. If your accident didn’t have any injuries, the fault was clear and the damages are easy to value, your claim will likely be paid out in less than 2 weeks.
By contrast, claims that involve any sort of medical treatment due to injury will usually drag out for months and even years in some cases. Cases where only the fault is in dispute can take up to a month and some never settle at all.
If you are hoping to get your claim paid out as quickly as possible, remember to file early, as soon as you can! You are a part of the claims process, so the more open you are to cooperation the more quickly you will see that check and your car repaired.
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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding insurance claim reimbursement and their timeframes and that you feel more prepared to handle such an occurrence now and in the future. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.