Once you achieve a successful insurance settlement, you may think the hard part is over. Waiting for the company to send a check, however, can prove frustrating – especially if medical bills are still piling up and you have to miss work to recover from your injuries. Some insurance companies in Texas unfairly delay payouts to avoid paying claimants for as long as possible. Researching the average time it takes for an insurer to pay out a claim could help you estimate a timeline for when to reasonably expect your settlement check.
Most Insurance Companies Pay Claims Within 30 Days
Most insurance companies set goals to pay out accepted claims within 30 days of receiving the initial claim. Within those 30 days, the company should assign a claims adjuster to the case, review the facts, accept or deny the claim and issue prompt payment. Most insurance companies stick to this deadline on their own to keep things more efficient. Some states, however, have specific laws requiring insurance companies to act on claims within certain periods. Texas is one of them.
Texas law (section 542.056) gives insurance companies a maximum of 15 days to send the claimant a letter acknowledging the receipt of the claim. The insurance company then has the opportunity to request further information. After receiving all information, the insurer has 15 additional days to decide whether to approve or deny the claim.
Most cases resolve within 30 days of filing the claim. However, your insurance claim may take longer than 30 days to settle in Texas if the company requests more information from you. Replying promptly can expedite the process. At the 15-day mark after getting all the information it needs from you, insurance companies in Texas have the option of extending their decision by an additional 45 days. However, the insurance company must give an adequate explanation for requesting this extension.
If the insurance company denies your claim, it must have a valid reason. An explanation that does not make sense for your claim, or lack of an explanation altogether, could be a sign that the insurer is trying to take advantage of you. If the insurance company accepts your claim, it must release the payment within five business days. Most payments come in the form of mailed checks.
What To Do About Insurance Bad Faith
Failure to receive payment for an accepted insurance claim within the required amount of time according to the law could be a case of insurance bad faith. If an insurance company continues to unreasonably delay your payout after a serious accident in Texas, talk to a lawyer about your legal options. Many insurance companies engage in bad faith practices to save money at the expense of claimants. An insurance company must have a valid reason for delayed payment. Otherwise, you may have grounds to file a bad faith claim.
A bad faith claim is a lawsuit against the insurance company to prove that it is dealing with your claim unfairly. A successful bad faith lawsuit could result in compensation for both your original damages and additional payments for penalties and interest. A courtroom in San Antonio may force the insurance company to reimburse your attorney’s fees, court costs and other expenses related to the bad faith claim as punishment for making you wait for a payout.
If you suspect insurance bad faith after settling but not receiving payment, start documenting your experience. Keep copies of all letters and/or emails you received from the insurance company. Learn Texas’ bad faith laws with help from a personal injury attorney. Then, find out if you can go up against the insurance company in pursuit of back pay and/or additional compensation. A successful bad faith claim could force an insurance company to pay you more promptly.