How Long After An Accident Do You Have To File A Claim?

Updated October, 2020
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After an accident your deadline to file a claim changes depending on the state you reside in and the insurance policy you have. You have 10 days to file a police report in most states. Most policies and states require a police report to file.

Knowing the different types of insurance claims

In a crash, there are a few different factors that go into what you file for. Usually, your insurance company has multiple options when you file a claim. It's essential to understand when to file each of these options.

  • Auto Insurance claims- You file this when there is damage to your car caused by a crash.
  • Injury Insurance claims- You file this when you or someone on the policy was injured.
  • Comprehensive claim- Comprehensive claims are filed for damages outside of crashes. These claims include theft, hail damage, or falling trees.

Is there a deadline to filing a claim?

The time frame required to make a claim after an accident varies from state to state, and even policy to policy. The unspoken guideline is that 24 hours is a good window. However, make sure you have your police report and any other required documents to make your claim.

How long after an accident can you file a police report?

The time frame for police reports is less lenient. Most, if not all states, tell you to file the report right away. The quicker you file your report, the faster you can make an insurance claim. For most states, the maximum number of days you can wait is 10.

Is it a bad idea to wait?

In general, waiting to file a claim isn't a good idea. However, in some cases, it may be smart to wait a bit. Some injuries may take time to show up. Internal car damages may not be visible until you drive the car again.

What do I need to file a claim?

When filing a claim, it's best to have all the necessary information on hand. This eliminates having to stop the process and begin again once you've got it all.

  • Police report
  • Other drivers information
  • Documentation of damage
  • Any medical or repair bills

What if I didn't file my claim by the deadline?

If you wait too long to file your claim, the insurance company can deny you. They may feel you were trying to get one over on them or may have reason to believe the damage is from another incident. If you waited too long, you could miss the statute of limitations in your state to sue in court.

Is my insurance good enough to protect me in an accident?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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