Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • There are specific steps you need to take in order to file a claim with your insurance company
  • The claims process can be a time-consuming one depending on the cost of the claim
  • When shopping for car insurance, it’s wise to read reviews in order to find a company with a good claims record

You need to know the rules about filing a claim with an insurance company. How you file a claim will play a role in how long it takes for the company to pay out on a claim. The longer you wait, the longer it will take.

You should have as much information as possible to give the insurance company what they need to conduct the investigation.

Make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place! Enter your zip code above to compare rates of top insurers side-by-side.

Filing a Claim with Insurance


The moment an accident has happened, you need to file a claim with the insurance company. The police likely came out to the scene of the accident. They will have provided you with a data sheet that contains information from the other party.

All of this information needs to be shared with the insurance company.

There is a statute of limitations when it comes to reporting accidents. If you wait months to report to your insurance company, it is possible that they will deny your claim. You want to act quickly.

Additionally, you might have specific time limits to provide information that they request.

There are going to be differences if you were the one at fault or if the other party was at fault. If you were at fault, the only payout you will be waiting on is to repair your car. This payout will generally be taken care of once you pay the deductible.

If you were the victim, you will be waiting on the other person’s car insurance company to take care of repairs and medical bills and any settlement that you negotiate.

Your insurance company will work with the other person’s insurance company on your behalf. It is also up to you as to whether you involve a lawyer to fight for more of a payout.

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The Insurance Claims Process

The insurance claims process is a lengthy one. This length is because the insurance company has to do the following:

  • Receive your claim
  • Assign an investigator to the case
  • Talk to the other party

During this time, there will be things for you to do as well:

  • You will need to provide a recorded statement of what happened.
  • You will also need to take your car to an adjuster and let the body shop determine how much damage was done.

If you’re unable to drive your car, either because of your injuries or the condition of the car, the adjuster will be able to come to you, or to the site of the car (such as if it was towed to a collision center).

The faster you provide the necessary information, the easier it is for the insurance company to get what they need to finish their investigation.

You also have to look at the full extent of the damages. How much is the insurance company expected to pay out based upon what has happened? This is going to play a major role for the time it takes for everything to be paid.

What is the car insurance paying out on?

  • Car repairs
  • Total car replacement
  • Hospital bills
  • Pain and suffering

The more money they have to pay out, the longer it’s going to take. This is because they need to conduct a full investigation to ensure that what’s in your claim is completely legitimate.

Additionally, if you are fighting for more and want to negotiate the offer, it’s going to take more time.

How you conduct yourself and what you provide is going to impact the claims process. You have to be cautious about negotiating, accepting an offer, and more. Once you accept an offer, the negotiations stop.

The insurance company will agree to pay a certain amount and that’s it.

As for how long this will take for them to pay out, this varies from company to company. Some will pay out after a week. Other companies can take three months or longer.

If the insurance company has their own collision center, the repairs might be covered immediately. The payout goes to their collision center, not to you. You would only have to wait for a payout if you are receiving a monetary settlement from the insurance company.

In this case, it would likely be the other person’s insurance company providing the settlement. Your insurance company will take care of your vehicle.

Read Reviews When Buying Car Insurance


When you start to look at car insurance, you should use an online quote system. This will make it easier to get quotes from multiple companies. You compare the premiums between the different quotes to see who is going to save you the most money.

As you get quotes from the more affordable companies, do some research. Read reviews to find out what the average payout time is for the different companies.

Some have a reputation for being very fast while others have a reputation for taking a significant amount of time. This reputation for paying claims should be a part of the process when you buy auto insurance.

Otherwise, if there is an accident, you could be waiting a long time for the accident to be settled in its entirety.

There is no specific time for a car insurance company to pay out on a claim. It depends on what the claim entails and whether you’re waiting for the payout from your company or the other person’s insurance company.

In the end, the payout could take months after the accident because of the time it takes to conduct the investigation.

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