How Long Does an Insurance Claim Take for Home or Business Property Damage?
So you’re dealing with an insurance claim for home or business property damage. How long will it take to get your money? How long does it take to process a home or business property damage claim?
Keep reading for important things you should know about the process of home or business property damage claims, including approximately how long it takes for an average claim to be processed.
The Average Claim Takes Anywhere from Several Weeks to Several Months
We wish we could give you a specific answer. Unfortunately, home and business property damage claim timeframes vary widely.
Some claims can be completed in under a week, and you’ll have your payout within days. Other claims take months of back and forth negotiations, paperwork, and investigation.
Unfortunately, no two claims are equal. Some claims are simple, while others are complicated. Some claims look simple but are actually complicated, while other claims look complicated but are actually simple.
Even if two neighbors file a claim for roof damage with the same insurance company after the same thunderstorm, the two claims could vary considerably in length.
How Long Are Insurers Allowed to Take?
Many states do not have specific time limits regulating how long insurance companies can take to process a claim. However, laws vary widely between states.
Most states have vague laws that require insurance companies to handle claims in a “reasonable” amount of time, for example.
Other states have more specific limits. Some states require insurers to acknowledge receipt of your claim within 10 to 30 days, for example, and 40 days to accept or deny it.
At the federal level, there is no nationwide law stipulating a payout timeframe for insurers. All timeframes are governed at the state level.
Some States Have Specific Insurance Timeframes
The vast majority of states require insurance companies to handle a claim in a “reasonable” length of time. The following four states, however, have specific time limits insurance companies are required to follow:
California: Insurance companies in California have 40 days to either accept or deny a claim. An insurer can request additional time, but the company must notify the policyholder every 30 days about the status of the claim. After insurers accept a claim and agree to a payout, payment must be issued within at least 30 days. However, this stipulation does not cover claims made under policies that have a waiting period.
Kansas: Insurance companies must investigate your claim no more than 30 days after you filed the claim. If the insurance company needs more time to investigate the claim, the company must notify the policyholder every 45 days in writing, informing the policyholder of the investigation’s status. However, Kansas has no specific state laws governing when an insurer must actually pay a claim.
Missouri: Missouri requires insurance companies to acknowledge a claim and respond to all communication from the insured within 10 working days. Insurance companies also have 15 working days to notify the policyholder of acceptance or denial of the claim after all forms have been submitted. An insurance company can request more time, but the company must provide a status update regarding the investigation within 45 days of the notice and every 45 days thereafter.
Texas: Insurers in Texas must acknowledge a policyholder’s claim within 15 days of receiving notice of that claim. The insurer must accept or deny your claim within 15 days of receiving all necessary documentation. In some cases, an insurer is allowed an additional 45 days to make a decision, although the insurer must inform the policyholder of this delay in writing. The insurance company must issue payment within 5 days of accepting your claim.
How to Expedite a Home or Business Property Damage Claim
There are steps you can take to expedite a home or business property damage claim. Some of the steps we recommend include:
Keep a Home Inventory: Keep track of your personal belongings. Take pictures and keep receipts for all belongings in your home, especially high-value items.
Report Claims ASAP: The sooner you report a claim, the sooner you can settle your claim. Report your claim as soon as it is safe to do so. If you wait too long, your claim may be denied.
Know Your Policy: Take a few minutes to read through your home or business insurance policy. There may be sections in there that you missed. Make sure you understand everything in the policy. It will make future negotiations with your insurance company easier.
Document Your Loss: Take photos of everything related to your insurance claim. Take pictures of the damage from every angle before the cleanup or restoration. Take pictures during the cleanup. Take pictures after. Photograph all possessions, items, furniture, and other items that were damaged.
Top Three Things that Delay an Insurance Claim
Most insurance claim delays are related to the following items:
- Not having adequate paperwork
- Not maintaining a complete inventory of possessions in the home or business
- Not providing the information to your insurance company in a timely way
What to Do If an Insurance Company is Taking Too Long
Sometimes, insurance companies take too long processing an insurance claim. The insurance company might have a backlog of claims it needs to get through.
Some insurance companies, however, use these delays as a tactic. They take advantage of the fact that most states have no specific timeframes for insurance claims.
The insurance company might delay your claim as much as possible, demanding more and more paperwork from the policyholder.
The insurance company might refuse to answer your calls or take several days to return your message.
What happens if your insurance company is taking too long and dragging its feet? How should you respond if an insurance company is taking too long?
There are two good ways to tackle these types of insurance companies:
- Contact a Public Adjuster
- Contact your State Insurance Department
If your insurance company is taking too long on your home or business property damage claim, then we recommend hiring a public adjuster. A public adjuster is a licensed insurance industry professional who knows the tactics insurance companies use to delay claims.
With the help of a good public adjuster, you can get paid as soon as possible. Hiring a public adjuster shows the insurance company you mean business.
Contact A Public Adjuster Today
To hire a licensed, qualified public adjuster today, contact ClaimsMate. We are a public adjuster company dedicated to helping policyholders like you resolve insurance claim issues and get fair treatment from insurance companies.