Do you know your state’s laws regarding auto insurance claims?
As with all insurance, you purchase auto insurance to protect yourself from losing money in the event of any auto-related theft, injury, or property damage. To cover the expense of any of those incidents, you must file a claim with your auto insurance provider, which reimburses you for the resulting financial expense. However, the claims process isn’t always the most transparent, and it differs based on the state where you live.
We’ll help you brush up on your state’s laws so you can get reimbursed as soon as possible, whether it’s under property damage coverage, comprehensive coverage, or another policy type.
What is an insurance claim? An insurance claim is a documented request filed to your insurer to reimburse you for any expense that your insurance policy might cover; it’s usually submitted as a form. You’ll send the form, which details the incident that caused the expense, to the insurer, which will review the details to determine whether the company will cover the incident.
If you’re wondering how long car insurance claims take, keep reading to see your state’s statute of limitations below.
Here’s how car insurance claims work:
Before we tell you what to expect while filing an auto insurance claim, let’s define some key terms.
Each insurance provider has an obligation to its policyholder, so if someone hits you and you file a claim with their insurer, that company will investigate the claim and offer you a settlement. Here’s some more information about the insurance claims process.
First, you’ll request a claim and the company will send you all the necessary documents. You’ll need to provide information such as who was at fault, the damages and/or bodily injuries, and whether they were related to the accident directly. The insurance company also might make you get several repair estimates, either in network or out of network (except, with the latter, you may have to pay the difference if it’s more expensive than in-network options).
With third-party claims, you won’t have to pay your deductible. Rather, you’ll have to sign a “release for damages” agreeing to the amount you’ll get from the other driver and their insurance provider.
If bodily injury claims are ongoing, you may have to wait to get reimbursed for property damage claims as well.
However, if the other insurer denies your claim, you also have these options:
With first-party claims, you can file a claim as you would any other claim, paying the deductible first if you haven’t reached it yet.
How long you have to file your claim depends on your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage claims. The average is three years for personal injury claims and four years for property damage claims. That being said, we recommend filing a claim as soon as you can after an incident to speed up the reimbursement and repair processes.
|State||Statute of limitations for personal injury claim (in years)||Statute of limitations for property damage claim (in years)|
|District of Columbia||3||3|
States have exceptions to their statutes of limitations, and there are also some universal exceptions across the U.S., such as in these cases:
Other factors could reduce the length of the statute of limitations, like car accidents involving:
Every state has dram shop laws except for Virginia, South Dakota, Nevada, Maryland, California, and Washington, D.C.3
Here’s how to file an insurance claim after an incident.
While preventing accidents isn’t entirely possible even with the best defensive driving skills, you can help yourself and others stay safe after an accident by being prepared. Take these steps if you’re in an accident:
Not sure how to file a claim with your insurance provider? Use the contact information below.
|Company||Phone number||URL||Mailing address|
|21st Centuryfirstname.lastname@example.org||www.21st.com/contact-21st-century-insurance.htm||P.O. Box 268994
Oklahoma City, OK 73126-8994
Medical/PIP documents involving FL, NJ, NY: P.O. Box 268995
Medical/PIP documents involving all other states: P.O. Box 268993
|AAA||Enter ZIP code to find claims number:
|None||www.aaa.com/stop/||The Auto Club Group Claim Department
P.O. Box 9001
Royal Oak, MI 48068-9826
P.O. Box 14219
Lexington, KY 40512
|Allstate||800-255-7828||None||www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/auto-claims-info.aspx||Allstate Insurance Company
P.O. Box 660636
Dallas, TX 75266
|Amica||800-242-6422||None||www.amica.com/en/customer-service/contact-us.html||Amica Scan Center
P.O. Box 9690
Providence, RI 02940-9690
22651 Lambert St., Suite 102
Lake Forest, CA 92630
|Bristol West||800-274-7865||None||www.bristolwest.com/home/claims||Bristol West Claims Service
P.O. Box 258806
Oklahoma City, OK 73125-8806
118 Shawan Road, Suite 210
Baltimore, MD 21030
|Carshield||800-531-1925||ClaimsDocs@americanautoshield.com||americanautoshield.com/report-a-claim/||1597 Cole Blvd., Suite 200
Lakewood, CO 80401-3418
New Hampshire: 800-888-6050
|None||www.concordgroupinsurance.com/claims/report-a-claim||Concord Corporate Office
4 Bouton St.
Concord, NH 03301
|Direct||800-403-1077||None||www.directauto.com/claims/make-a-claim||Direct Auto Insurance Claims Department
P.O. Box 1623
Winston Salem, NC 27102
|Endurance||877-414-0134||None||www.endurancewarranty.com/learning-center/company-resources/best-practices-for-filing-a-claim-with-endurance-warranty/||Endurance Corporate Headquarters
400 Skokie Blvd., Suite 105
Northbrook, IL 60062
|Erie||800-367-3743||None||www.erieinsurance.com/support-center/claims/auto||Erie Branch Claims Office
P.O. Box 13002
|Esurance||800-378-7262||None||www.esurance.com/file-a-claim-online||Esurance Customer Service
P.O. Box 5250
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5258
|Farmers||800-435-7764||None||www.farmers.com/cmp/s/filealoss?SO=01||Farmers Customer Service
6301 Owensmouth Ave.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
P.O. Box 199023
Dallas, Texas 75219-9023
|Good2Go||800-727-6664||Claims@good2go.com||mypolicy.good2go.com/account/login#||Good2Go Auto Insurance
P.O. Box 1930
Blue Bell, PA 19422-0479
200 E. Randolph St., Suite 3300
Chicago, IL 60601
For California customers:
800-234-3606 (formerly Kemper Specialty California)
P.O. Box 2855
Clinton, IA 52733
|Lemonade||844-733-8666 (for claim emergencies)||email@example.com||www.lemonade.com/car||None|
|Liberty Mutual||800-225-2467||None||fileaclaim.libertymutual.com/||Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston
100 Liberty Way
Dover, NH 03820
1700 Greenbriar Lane
Brea, CA 02921
|MetLife — Farmers Auto Insurance||800-435-7764||None||www.farmers.com/cmp/s/filealoss?SO=01||Farmers Insurance Customer Service
6301 Owensmouth Ave.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
|Plymouth Rock||844-346-1225||None||efnol.plymouthrock.com/#/login||Plymouth Rock Assurance
P.O. Box 55165
Boston, MA 02205
|Protect My Car||844-256-4762||None||blog.protectmycar.com/claim-protect-my-car||None|
|Root||New claims: 866-980-9431
Existing claims: 866-489-1985
|None||www.joinroot.com/claims/||Root Insurance Claims Department
80 E. Rich St., Suite 500
Columbus, OH 43215
8501 Fallbrook Ave., Suite 225
West Hills, CA 91304
|USAA||Shortcut mobile number: #8722
9800 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, TX 78288
Fault matters, as the person at fault will have to pay for the damages. In some states, people might share fault, and each could pay for a percentage of the cost. It all depends on the state’s negligence laws, which we’ve outlined below.5 But before we get to your state, let’s cover the types of negligence laws.
It’s a good idea to check the type of negligence laws in your state to see how much you’ll pay after an accident.
|State||Type of negligence laws|
|District of Columbia||Contributory|
|New Hampshire||Modified comparative|
|New Jersey||Modified comparative|
|New Mexico||Pure comparative|
|New York||Pure comparative|
|North Dakota||Modified comparative|
|Rhode Island||Pure comparative|
|South Carolina||Modified comparative|
|South Dakota||Slight-gross negligence comparative|
|West Virginia||Modified comparative|
These are some of the many types of car insurance claims:
Next time, be prepared in case you get in an accident.
Have more frequently asked questions about auto insurance? Read our complete auto insurance guide or keep reading the FAQs below.
The subject of car insurance claims is vast, so naturally, you had even more questions for us to answer.
After you make a claim on car insurance:
There is a time limit on car insurance claims that varies by state. The average statute of limitations for personal injury claims in the U.S. is three years, while the average for property damage claims is four years.
However, there is a pretty wide variance. For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations ranges from one year in states like Tennessee to six years in New Jersey. For property damage claims, the range is two to 10 years; Rhode Island is the state with the longest property damage claim statute of limitations (10 years).
While there are some exceptions for minors and incarcerated people, here are the general statutes of limitations by state:
|State||Personal injury claims statute of limitations (in years)||Property damage claims statute of limitations (in years)|
|District of Columbia||3||3|
Car insurance companies pay out claims by reimbursing customers for their costs. Sometimes, though, in-network service providers such as repair shops, mechanics, and rental car companies will bill the car insurance company directly.
Yes, a car insurance company can refuse to pay a claim if the policy doesn’t cover it. That means the insured person will have to pay for any costs out of pocket. Take these steps if you want to appeal the claim:
Filing a Claim with Another Driver’s Insurance Company. Illinois Department of Insurance. (2022).
Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022).
Dram Shop Laws and Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents. Justia. (2022).
What To Expect When You File A Car Insurance Claim. Allstate. (2019, Oct).
How Is My Automotive Insurance Claim Affected If I Was Partially at Fault? HG.org Legal Resources. (2022).
UNDERSTANDING SOUTH DAKOTA’S SLIGHT/GROSS RULE. Wilka, Welter, and Ash LLP. (2015, Aug 19).
State By State Negligence Laws. The Law Offices Of Maloney And Campolo. (2020, Feb 14).
What to do at the scene of an accident. Insurance Information Institute. (2022).