How Long Can You Wait To File A Homeowners Insurance Claim?
The time limit for filing a homeowners insurance claim differs from company to company and state to state. Successful claim filing must be done quickly to ensure the necessary information and evidence is available. Since it is your responsibility to prove that damage was done at a specific time and date, filing the claim quickly helps you keep the facts straight and the claim complete.
Insurance is Regulated by State
Insurance is regulated by individual states, but most states, including Kansas, do not set time limits on when a home insurance claim can be filed. The Kansas Insurance Commissioner points out that not filing a claim right away could result in the claim being denied, due to loss of evidence or additional damage emerging that overturns the responsibility of the insurance company.
Insurance Company Time Limits
Insurance companies, according to the Homeowners Insurance Guide, set their own time limits for filing a claim. Some companies may set the limit as low as 30 days after the incident, but most companies will give you as much as one year. The time limits set by your insurance company should be clearly stated in your policy, but if you are having trouble finding out where it is listed you can call your insurance agent for more information. Insurance companies may issue an extension for some cases, such as a home that cannot be evaluated for some time after a major storm or catastrophe. If a recent storm has caused widespread damage, insurance companies may extend the time limit to give their appraisers more time to visit customer homes.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is your responsibility. If a recent rainstorm damaged your roof, it is your own best interest to get the claim filed as soon as possible so that the storm is fresh in memory, and before the damage has time to escalate into further damage which could be denied coverage under your policy’s negligence clause. If an appraiser finds damage that could have been prevented by filing the claim sooner, you could be held responsible for paying the additional repairs out of pocket.
Time is Important
Once you have filed a home insurance claim, the insurance company will have up to 30 days to investigate the initial claim. If problems with settling the claim are found, the insurance company can postpone the settlement for an indefinite period of time, as long as you are notified at least every 60 days that the claim is still under investigation. For insurance companies, time is critical to establishing the cause and minimizing potential damage, especially in situations where the homeowner needs to make repairs quickly to protect the structure of the home from additional damage.