Filing a claim to your homeowners insurance company you need to consider a broad number of factors. Sometimes you might not be sure if the damage is worth a claim. Sometimes you don’t notice any damage has occurred until it spreads. But is there a limit to how long you can wait before the claim goes stale?
The time limit to file a claim differs from company to company and some times state to state. Most insurance companies do have an allotted amount of time before your claim will not be accepted. This time can range anywhere from 30 days to one year.
You may find that the events surrounding the damages can affect the amount of time you have to file a claim. Following a natural disaster that causes widespread damage, insurance companies can extend the claim time limit if they feel they can’t get out to investigate the claim soon.
State time limits
The first variant in deciding the amount of time you have to file a claim is the state by state statutes on claim time limits. Each state has a different policy when it comes to insurance claims, some giving you a few years, others with no limit at all.
Research what your own state’s policy is on the subject of claim limits to know how long you have to file your claim. Keep in mind, however, that in most cases your insurance policy will need a claim to be filed in a shorter period than your state requires.
Where your state might allot you 3 years, your insurance policy could only allow you 1 year to file your claim. If your insurance policy does not mention a time limit, then it comes down to what your state’s statute is.
Policy time limits
Insurance policies on claim time limits vary from company to company so it’s important to know your own policy. Insurance companies will typically allow you 30 days to file a claim after the damage occurs but some grant you up to one year. The difference between companies can be drastic so scanning your policy and knowing the amount of time you have can prevent you from filing a late claim only to be rejected.
If you are having trouble finding the time limit stated in your policy, contact your insurance company. Some policies use vague terms such as “as soon as possible” or “promptly” and in this case, you may be able to argue that a delay is necessary as long as you can back up your reasoning.
Take care of your evidence
Say your window was blown out during a rainstorm and the water damage from a storm the following week causes your floorboards to need repairs. If you find yourself in this scenario, your insurance company will hold you responsible for any repairs resulting from the blown-out window. You will be held responsible for repairs if an appraiser finds the damages could have been prevented by filing a claim. Maintaining the damages and preventing further issues is up to you.
Insurance companies hold the choice to delay your claim if they believe it necessary. If widespread damage where they are unable to send an appraiser out to investigate your claim, they are allowed to postpone their appraisal for an indefinite amount of time. They must send you a notice every 60 days letting you know the claim is still under investigation.
While your company may allow you a year to file a claim, it’s of your best interest to file one as soon as you can. This is to prevent any further damage you may be held responsible for and to avoid the insurance companies from extending their end of the investigation process. Policies may grant you any claim time limit from 30 days to one year, but the longer you wait, the more loopholes you create.