How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay a Claim in Texas?
If you file a personal injury or car accident claim in Texas, then the insurance company is legally obliged to follow laws and regulations regarding claim timeframes. As a policyholder, you will naturally want to know how long the insurance company will take to pay out the money that you are entitled to when you have made a claim. In Texas, there are different deadlines that are applied to the various stages of the process.
Throughout an insurance claim process, there are three main stages. These include filing the claim, acknowledgment and investigation of the claim, and then finally, either approving or denying it. Keep reading to find out more about the deadlines that apply to your claim, and how long you can expect the process to take.
Filing the Insurance Claim
The first step in the process is filing the insurance claim. The time limit that you will have to file your claim will vary depending on the type of claim that it is. Typically, you have up to two years from the date that the injury occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties that are responsible. It’s also worth bearing in mind that your insurance company may have its own policy requirements for how much time you have as a policyholder to present the claim. This may be a much shorter timeframe than the two years – in some cases, you may have to report and present a claim within two weeks.
Acknowledgement and Investigation
Once you have filed an insurance claim under your own policy, the insurance company will usually have around two weeks, or fifteen days to acknowledge that they have received your claim. They will typically also need to work to this limit when it comes to requesting any additional information from you that is required by the adjuster to conduct the necessary investigation. You will usually be given a time frame in which you will need to provide this information, which can vary based on your insurance company.
Claim Approval or Denial
Once all the requested information has been received by the claims adjuster, they will usually once again have fifteen days to either approve or deny your claim. If more time is needed for them to review the claim and come to a decision, then they can extend this deadline by up to an additional forty-five days to allow for this. In any case, when an insurance company needs more time, they should provide you with more information into why this is.
Adjusters will need to either approve or deny your claim in writing. If the claim is denied, they will also be required to provide an explanation. They will write a letter that explains if your claim has been either partly or fully denied and explain the reasons for why it was denied.
How Long for the Claim to be Paid?
If the insurance company has approved your claim, then the payment should be made no later than five days under the majority of circumstances. Failing to make a timely payment can result in legal consequences for the insurance company. There are some exceptions.
Bad Weather Catastrophes
The claim deadlines are different if you are filing a claim that arises from a catastrophe due to poor weather, or another natural disaster that has been defined as such by the Texas Department of Insurance. In these circumstances, the insurance company will have up to forty-five days to either approve or deny your claim. If your claim is approved, they will have an additional fifteen days to pay your compensation.
Potential Bad Faith Actions
As an insurance policyholder, you have the right to be treated fairly by your insurance company. When the insurance company deviates from the guidelines set out by the state of Texas, then the company may be liable for acting in bad faith. In this case, they may also be responsible for any legal fees that you face and potential other money damages as well.
Do Insurance Companies Have to Respond to a Claim?
Simply put, yes. Under Texas law, insurance companies are legally required to respond to any claims that are filed. An insurance provider is legally bound to certain actions that must be carried out within fifteen days of the claim being filed, which include acknowledging receipt of the claim, starting an investigation into the claim, and requesting any additional relevant information from the claimant to assist with the investigation if needed.
If an insurance company fails to acknowledge that they have received their claim, they will be in violation of the statute. Along with this, the insurance company is also legally obligated to notify you as to whether or not your claim has been accepted.
Can I Speed the Process Up?
While there is nothing that you can do to shorten the statutory timeframe that insurance companies need to work within, the good news is that there are some things that you can do to potentially speed up the claims process. One of the main things that you can do is simply send any additional information that has been requested by your insurance company to them as quickly as possible. The insurance company generally has fifteen days to investigate the claim from the day that they receive the requested information from you, so sending it early will work in your favor.
If you have been involved in an accident, it’s a wise idea to compile as much information as possible to provide to your insurance company. Accident reports, police reports, witness statements and proof of loss forms that are ready and completed can be one of the best ways to help speed your claim up.
If you are putting in a claim with your insurance company, here at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys we are happy to advise. Our team of lawyers is well-experienced in liaising with insurance companies to help you get the fastest, most successful result from your claim. Call us at 877-557-4221.