You've always paid your car insurance premium on time, and never had the misfortune of experiencing a car accident. Then, the unthinkable happens and someone hits you from the rear. What will happen next? Are there claim timelines for car insurance companies?
Report your accident to the car insurance company as soon as possible. The severity of the accident may determine whether you call your insurance carrier first. If your car needs to be moved to a shop immediately, then do call your insurance carrier right away. Most likely, your insurance company will be able to assist you in getting the vehicle moved to a body shop and with a rental car.
Your claims adjuster will usually call you within 24 to 48 hours of the claim being reported. If it takes longer than one to two business days for your claims adjuster to contact you, then consider calling your company's claims hotline. Or your agent should be willing to call on your behalf to access the status of your claim. Your claims adjuster will be able to explain your policy and answer any questions you might have. Also, it is likely that the claims adjuster will have questions for you. Be sure to have your information about the car accident on hand.
Your car insurance company may need to inspect your vehicle. The requirements for methods of inspection vary from company to company. In some instances when damages are minor and fall below a certain dollar threshold, your insurance company will waive the inspection and accept an estimate from your body shop. However, if damages are substantial, then your insurance carrier will need to inspect the vehicle. There are a variety of different methods of inspection - from preferred body shops to an auto technician traveling to the body shop. How long this process takes will vary.
Once your vehicle is repaired, then your claim may be closed. There are a variety of factors which affect the overall duration of most claim timelines. If you were involved in a single vehicle collision, then your claim will close as soon as the insurance company pays. If there is another vehicle involved, or if there are liability issues regarding property damage and/or bodily injury, then you claim may remain open for an indeterminate amount of time until all are resolved.
You do your part by paying your car insurance premium, and you expect your car insurance company to do theirs when a car accident happens. In the event of an issue during the claim, recall that all auto insurance companies are governed heavily by state law. You always have the option of calling your state's Department of Insurance.