How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster Have to Respond to 1st Party Claims?
Most insurance adjusters have three letters, required by state law, to send you within a 10 to 30-day deadline after you file a claim. Each letter has a unique deadline. The three letters are; acknowledgment they received your claim, disclaimer of coverage, and a reservation of rights.
What are First-Party Insurance Claims?
Auto or home insurance first-party claims are insurance claims filed directly by you with your insurance carrier. E.g., if your detached garage burns down, you will file a property damage claim with your insurer.
Alternatively, a third-party claim is an insurance claim that you would file with someone else's insurance company. E.g., if you got hurt in a car accident, you would file a car insurance claim against that driver's policy. That assumes the other driver was at fault.
Insurance Adjuster Response Letters Mandated by State Laws
You will receive three letters from your insurance adjuster. Each letter is typically a standard form letter sharing specific information. Each will also have legal language meant to protect the insurance company. If you have a physical damage claim, your adjuster might also want to see the evidence in person. The letters you may receive are:
Claim was Received
This letter acknowledges your claim was received and kicks off your claim investigation.
Disclaimer of Coverage
A disclaimer of coverage letter informs you if the insurer is questioning your coverage for the claim, that you have no coverage for the claim, or that they have no questions about your coverage.
Reservation of Rights
A Reservation of Rights letter states your claim was received, it is under investigation, and some losses might not be covered. If you get one, you should contact your adjuster and ask what is potentially not covered and why.
You might also receive these letters, which have no deadlines, during your claim process.
- Disclaimer letter. A disclaimer letter informs you there is no insurance coverage for your losses.
- Non-waiver letter. A non-waiver letter (or non-waiver agreement) tells you the adjuster has a coverage question. You must answer the question, sign it, and send it back. It is usually needed to complete the claim. S/he might ask for medical bills, pictures, receipts, etc.
- Withdrawing reservation of rights. The letter you want is one that withdraws the reservation of rights and informs you that your claim is covered.
Insurance Adjusters Must Meet These Deadlines Set by Your State
|State||Receipt of Your Claim||Disclaimer of Coverage||Reservation of Rights|
|Alabama||15-day deadline||30-day deadline or the policy's number of day deadline||30-day deadline or the policy's number of day deadline|
|Alaska||10-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|Arizona||10 working day deadline||15 working day deadline||15-day deadline|
|Arkansas||15-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|California||15-day deadline||40-day deadline or
80-day deadline if there's suspected fraud
|Colorado||Reasonably prompt||within a 60-day deadline||60-day deadline|
|Connecticut||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
|Delaware||15-day deadline and Required to investigate the claim in a 10-day deadline of receipt of Proof of Loss Claim||30-day deadline||30-day deadline|
|District of Columbia||Reasonably Prompt||Reasonable Timeframe||NA|
|Florida||within 14 calendar day deadline; Required to investigate the claim in 10 working day deadline of receipt of the proof of losses||60-day deadline of issuing a reservation of rights and/or upon receipt of complaint & summons||30-day deadline from receipt of defense coverage|
|Georgia||15-day deadline||15-day deadline;
30-day deadline after receiving a notice if a proof-of-losses form is not required
|Hawaii||15-day deadline||Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete||Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete|
|Illinois||Reasonably prompt||A reasonable timeframe to determine the coverage, notify policyholder within a 30-day deadline of decision||A reasonable timeframe to determine the coverage, notify policyholder within a 30-day deadline of decision|
|Iowa||15-day deadline||30-day deadline||30-day deadline|
|Kentucky||15-day deadline||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
|Louisiana||Begin loss adjustment in 14-day deadline after notification;
Within 30 day deadline in catastrophic loss
|30-day deadline||30-day deadline|
|Maine||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete||Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete|
|Maryland||15-day deadline||15 working day deadline or what policy states||15 working day deadline or what policy states|
|Massachusetts||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe; Prompt||Reasonably prompt|
|Michigan||A 30-day deadline to issue materials that justify an acceptable proof of losses||None. Caution waiving coverage disclaimer when defending with no ROR and within a reasonable timeframe.||Reasonable timeframe|
|Minnesota||10 business day deadline||60-day deadline; 30-day deadline after the investigation is done||60-day deadline; 30-day deadline after the investigation is done|
|Missouri||10-day deadline||15-day deadline after all the needed forms||15-day deadline after all the needed forms|
|Montana||Reasonably prompt||A 30-day deadline to request more info. If requested, a 60-day deadline to deny or pay||None|
|Nebraska||15-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|Nevada||20 working day deadline||30 working day deadline||30 working day deadline|
|New Hampshire||10-day deadline||10 working day deadline||10 working day deadline|
|New Jersey||10-day deadline||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
|New Mexico||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
|New York||15-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|North Carolina||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe|
|North Dakota||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe with no unreasonable delay||Reasonable timeframe|
|Ohio||15-day deadline; none if a lawsuit gets filed||21-day deadline||21-day deadline|
|Oklahoma||30-day deadline||45-day deadline; a 60-day deadline for casualty and property investigation to be finished||45-day deadline|
|Oregon||30-day deadline||30-day deadline||30-day deadline|
|Pennsylvania||10-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|Rhode Island||10-day deadline -casualty & property
15-day deadline (accident);
|15-day deadline -property & casualty
21 day deadline / Reasonable Timeframe
|15-day deadline (property & casualty) Reasonable Timeframe|
|South Carolina||Reasonably prompt||A prompt investigation is expected||A prompt investigation is expected|
|South Dakota||30-day deadline||30-day deadline||Not exact, a 30-day deadline can be interpreted in the state statute|
|Tennessee||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
30-day deadline if the insurance company is a surplus-lines carrier
|15-day deadline||Reasonable timeframe|
|Utah||Prompt acknowledge – in 15 calendar day deadline||Prompt – 30 calendar day deadline||Prompt – 30 calendar day deadline|
|Vermont||10-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|Virginia||10 working day deadline||15 working day deadline||15 working day deadline|
|Washington||15-day deadline||15-day deadline||15-day deadline|
|West Virginia||15-day deadline||15-day deadline;
10-day deadline after the investigation is completed; investigation to start within a 15-day deadline of the claim; a reasonable timeframe to complete the investigation
|10-day deadline after the investigation is completed; investigation to start within a 15-day deadline of the claim; a reasonable timeframe to complete the investigation|
|Wisconsin||10 consecutive day deadline||Reasonable timeframe||Reasonable timeframe|
|Wyoming||Reasonably prompt||Reasonable timeframe; 45-day deadline (property and casualty, accident)||Reasonable timeframe|
How Can You Speed Up the Claims Process?
The timeframe a claim takes to settle also depends on you. If the adjuster requests information, provide it promptly. E.g., if you have a medical claim, provide the necessary information.
Response timeframes can depend on the type of claim. It is incredibly hard to pin down timeframe frames for auto insurance claims because insurers rely on repair shop estimates. Lawyers can also delay the claims process (if it is your lawyer, that is ok). Or you might reject their initial offer and try to negotiate a better claim settlement.
If you cannot mutually agree on a settlement offer, you might hire an accident attorney or personal injury claims attorney. If they do not respond to a demand letter from your attorney, you could have a long delay before getting into court or agreeing to a settlement.
Need to Switch Insurance Companies?
Are you dissatisfied with your insurance company's claims handling? We are sorry for your trouble. If you would like to check out a few other options, we can help. We can give you comparison quotes from 40+ carriers who are known for positive claims service.
I hope that helps!
At your service,