How Long Does an Insurance Adjuster Have to Respond by LawHow 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 claimdisclaimer 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
40-day deadline
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
Timeframe notice
Hawaii 15-day deadline Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete Reasonable timeframe after the investigation is complete
Idaho Prompt None None
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
Indiana Reasonably prompt Prompt Prompt
Iowa 15-day deadline 30-day deadline 30-day deadline
Kansas Reasonably prompt Prompt Prompt
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
Mississippi None None None
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);
30-day deadline
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
Texas 15-day deadline;
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.

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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!

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At your service,
Young Alfred