The Time Limits for Filing a Claim for a Car Accident

by Christopher Williams
There are limits on how long you have to file an insurance claim, but it's important not to rush.

If your car is damaged in an accident, chances are you won’t wait long to file a claim with your insurance company. Sometimes, though, car accidents can have effects -- like an injury -- that aren’t always immediately apparent. Several months might pass before you become aware of a loss that resulted from your accident. Then you might find yourself wondering if you’re too late to file a claim.

Take the Time to Get it Right

You might feel pressure to file immediately to avoid your company denying your claim, but you don’t need to worry. In fact, trying to file too quickly is often to the advantage of the insurance company, because hastily-filed claims can result in lower payouts, which are better for their bottom lines. Guidelines vary between states, but by law you generally have from two to four years after the accident to file.

Supplemental Claims

All the effects of an accident don’t always appear at the same time. You may discover damage to your car that wasn’t readily apparent when you first filed, or perhaps that little ache in your neck turns out to be something more serious. You can usually file additional claims with your insurance company, but the time constraints are a little different because they’re governed by your company. You may have anywhere from 90 days to a year after the date of loss. Check with your insurance company to be sure.

About the Author

Christopher Williams has owned and operated his own small business since 2002, and has a wide range of professional experience in retail, sales and insurance industries. He's been writing professionally since 2004.

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