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How Long Can I Wait to File a Claim?

    2 minute read

    In many cases after an auto accident, the person involved will file a claim immediately to cover the damage of the car.  But in some cases people will try to settle without getting their insurance company involved.  This may not always be the best decision.   Perhaps someone doesn’t pay when they say they will, or you find that there are medical complications due to the accident that weren’t immediately apparent.  When this happens, many people will then turn to their insurance agency to be compensated.  The question then comes up, “How long do I have after an accident to file a claim?”  For medical issues, the state of California requires that your claim be made within 2 years of the incident.  If you are trying to be compensated for damage to your vehicle, you have 3 years (for more information, click here). 

    While this is the case in the state of California, you should always review your insurance policy to be certain.  This information is usually contained in a section titled “Duties After an Accident or Loss”.  For example, if your vehicle is stolen you typically have a duty to file a police report immediately and contact your insurance company within 30 days.

    To make filing a claim a bit less stressful, it is a good idea to gather information just after the accident.  Make notes and take pictures if possible.  Also, if there are medical complications, it is important to save all of the documentation.

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    This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.