DEADLINES FOR FILING FIRST PARTY INSURANCE CLAIMS CAN BE SHORT
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If your insurance company denies your first party insurance claim – whether for a fire loss, water damage, theft, or storm damage – you should be very careful to move quickly to preserve your rights. Out of state residents in Tennessee, for example, could speak with an insurance litigation lawyer Memphis, TN relies on when insurance companies wrongfully deny claims.
Insurance Policies Shorten Deadlines for Filing a Lawsuit
Insurance policies are contracts. However, you cannot always rely on the “regular” deadline (formally referred to as the statute of limitation) for filing contract cases, because your homeowners policy almost certainly has a much shorter deadline hidden in the fine print. In most cases, for example, that shorter contractual deadline is only 1 year, and sometimes even shorter than that. Contact a lawyer right away if your claim is denied.
Immunity and Loss Settlement Periods in Insurance Policies
In most states, the law says that your time period to file a lawsuit begins to run after the accrual of the cause of action against your insurance company. Luckily, that is not the date of the fire, damage, or property loss. So, what does “accrual of the cause of action” mean?
Most policies contain a period of “immunity” during which you cannot sue, so that the company has a chance to investigate your claim. This is sometimes referred to as the “loss settlement” period. Many policies provide for 45-60 day settlement periods. The “accrual of the cause of action” occurs when the immunity period expires, or when the insurance company denies your claim, whichever comes first.
Depending on what the policy says, the insurer’s immunity period may be extended if it continues to actively investigate a claim, and requests information from you beyond the stated time period. This can make the calculation of your deadline confusing, and is why it is critical that you consult with a Tennessee attorney.
Important Dates in Insurance Claims
If you have an insurance claim, look at your policy and figure out the loss settlement period. Keep copies of any correspondence you send to or receive from the insurance company, including emails. You should also keep up with the following dates:
- Date of loss
- Dates of claim payments
- Dates of correspondence or phone conversations with the insurance company
- Date of Denial
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience fighting for everyday people and businesses against large insurance companies.