Even if you file an insurance claim promptly and correctly, you’ll have to wait in uncomfortable silence until your check arrives. In the meantime, you’ll need to arrange repairs to your damaged property. How long should you wait for the check before you seek legal help? Two weeks? Two months?
Unfortunately, every contract is different. There might not be a specific rule in your contract about how quickly they must send you a check. However, Florida consumer protection laws state that it must be within a “reasonable” time frame.
What is a “reasonable” time frame?
Florida laws provide a framework for insured people to have realistic expectations of their insurers. The following is a guideline for reasonable timeliness:
- 10 days: After the damage occurs, you must file a “proof of loss” form. This is a calculated sum of the value of the property before and after the incident. It also indicates how much you expect to recover from the damage (considering factors such as depreciation, complete replacement, overall system damage, etc.). After the insurer receives this form, they have 10 days to begin their own investigation into your damages.
- 14 days: After you report the incident, you should be able to speak to real person within the company. If not, the company must contact you within 14 days.
- 90 days: After the insurance company finishes their investigation, they must tell you if your claim was accepted or denied within 90 days. This is a common situation for complicated or high-value claims. If they deny your claim and don’t explain, provide vague or invalid answers, it may be time to seek legal help.
What else do these guidelines allow?
Some situations allow the insurer to take time extensions before they file your claim. This might be a devastating weather event, a disastrous business event or another situation. However, a company cannot use these excuses forever. If you suspect that the insurance company is stalling or abusing the system to delay or deny you coverage, you may be entitled to legal compensation.