Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Getting your insurance claim paid in a timely manner is the first order of business in insurance
  • You need to be able to depend on your insurance claim being paid quickly so you can get on with your life
  • Shop and compare companies and ask questions about their claim rate to get the best deal
  • Insurance companies are required to pay legitimate claims

When searching for car insurance, one of the factors you need to look into is a company’s insurance claims record. It is your right as a consumer to know the rate of claims payments that a provider has on the books.

The price and timely way in which insurance companies pay their claims is an indicator of how financially secure a company is.

It is important to understand the general insurance claims process when you file a claim. This will give you an idea of what is considered to be a reasonable amount of time for the insurance company to pay your claim in the event of an accident.

Such information also gives you some idea of the standard procedures for filing a claim so that you can expedite the process.

Compare insurers in your area to get the most savings on your car insurance. Enter you zip code in the rate tool above to begin.

The Purpose of an Insurance Claim

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The purpose of an insurance claim is the inevitable reason that you carry insurance, to begin with. If you suffer a loss, whether it be for damage to your car vehicle, injuries, or medical expenses, loss of time from work, and other factors, you have a right to file a claim.

You pay premiums every month to ensure that, in the event of an accident, the insurance company will pay you money for your repairs, physical injuries, or other expenses.

A claim is expected to pay compensation for loss. Compensation is money paid directly to you or your providers that repair your car or provide medical services when you need them.

As long as you have paid your premiums on time and your insurance is current at the time of your accident, you should be eligible to receive your claim.

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To Pay or Not to Pay

This article addresses the issue of when to file a claim, stating that sometimes it is better not to do so because it can raise your insurance premiums.

While this is true in many instances, because people who have had accidents statistically are more likely to have another one, it is not always the case. Don’t ever let an insurance company or any other entity persuade you against filing a claim if there is substantial damage.

If you do, you will be forced to pay the expenses for the loss out of your pocket and this can very costly. Additionally, if you wait too long debating whether or not to file the claim, your insurance company may not accept it.

What to Do if Your Insurance Company Won’t Pay

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Investopedia.com reported that the most common reason for complaints among insurance company customers was the failure to pay claims.

Claims are the reason you take out insurance, to begin with, so you must be able to depend on your company paying when you have a claim.

Insurers must validate a claim before paying to ensure that it is a legitimate claim. Some people are less than honest about their claim so certain facts must be checked out before dispersing funds to pay a claim.

However, if you have a police report and other documentation of your claim, you should not have any delay in getting your money.

Investopedia suggests taking the following steps to get your claim money if you insurance provider fails to pay:

  • Keep excellent documentation – The best defense in challenging an insurance company that will not pay your claim is to do the work at the front end. By keeping carefully documented records of your driving record and history of your insurance payments, you are in a better position to get them to pay.
  • Contact your state insurance regulator – Each state has a designated insurance regulator that works to be sure that insurance companies do what they say they are going to do regarding claims payments. You can start by contacting your state insurance commissioner’s website by following this map.
  • Know your policy and rights – If you have a good understanding of your rights and the way your policy works, you should be able to defend your right to a claim based on this. The FTC, the Federal Insurance Commission, The Better Business Bureau, and other consumer advocacy groups prohibit insurance companies from denying claims based on capricious findings.
  • Be persistent – Persistency pays off. If your insurer refuses to pay your claim or if you think they are putting off payment of your claim for some reason, continue to communicate with them.
  • Seek advice from a lawyer if necessary – If you have tried yourself to obtain your claim money but the insurer still won’t pay, you can seek the advice of a settlement expert or a lawyer. As long as you have a valid claim, there are plenty of attorneys who are willing to represent you to help you get your due claims payments.

Choose the Right Company

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Your best line of defense is to find the best company, to begin with, that has a good record for paying their claims and working with customers.

By shopping and comparing various policies, companies, and plans, you are more likely to choose what is best for you.

One question you can ask your online representative is the claim rate of the company you are looking at and considering.

Make this a priority when choosing an insurance company, because knowing that your legitimate claim will be paid is the single most important factor in picking a company.

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How to Check the Reputation of an Insurance Company

There are some places you can go to research the history of a company. Your state insurance website may have information on companies that have an extraordinarily low claims payment rate.

This flags a company for investigation in many cases with the state insurance commissioner. You may also find information on a forum or visit the Better Business Bureau to see how many complaints the company has.

The best way, however, is to address this during your insurance shopping process. When you ask for a free quote on our website, make it a point to ask your online helper to check out the claims rates of the companies you are considering.

Also, ask them what the time frame is for paying claims.

The Process

The claims process is relatively simple. The following steps outline what happens during the filing process from the time you have an accident to receiving your claim money.

  • Report the accident to your insurance provider.
  • Give detailed information and document what happened.
  • Your insurance company will send an adjuster to survey the damage.
  • You will get an estimate from two or more repair shops and other sources.
  • The insurance company will send you a check to get your car repaired or for settlement of any medical expenses or other costs due to the loss.
  • You get your money and get your vehicle repaired.

Important Tip on Insurance Claims

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Because time is of the essence regarding the documentation of the accident and the succeeding damages, it is important that you file your claim right away.

However, you should also exercise due caution in rushing too fast to settle on an amount if you have other medical expenses later due to the accident.

Careful documentation from your doctor and keeping a record of any medical procedures or tests you had will help ensure that you are paid enough to take care of everything.

Compare insurance companies now by entering your zip code in the rate tool below.

References:

  1. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/insurance_claim.asp?ad=dirN&qo=investopediaSiteSearch&qsrc=0&…
  2. http://www.uphelp.org/pubs/claim-or-not-claim%E2%80%A6that-question-david-shaffer
  3. http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0211/what-to-do-when-insurance-companies-wont-pay.aspx…
  4. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nainsurancec.asp
  5. http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm
  6. http://bbb.org