How long is an insurance company allowed to keep a claim open?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How long is an insurance company allowed to keep a claim open?

About 10 months ago, I was in an accident. A couple days later I filed a claim with my insurance company that I had signed with 3 weeks prior. I didn’t have a police report and no one else was involved in the accident, however the company asked for 3 documents as proof of date. The company then totaled out the car without any settlement. Months past as I made multiple phone calls and emails and them telling me they’re waiting on a response from management. They never call back nor give any updates. It’s now almost a year later and still no response. My finance company has reached out and they also get no response. At this point I don’t know what else to do as I still owe my finance company for this car that can’t be released to me since it’s been totaled out. Can anyone give me any advice on what I should do next?

Asked on August 22, 2017 under Accident Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no specific time frame, but they must act in "good faith" to settle or resolve the matter within a "reasonable" (given the circumstances) time period. Based on what you write, they have not done this. Your recourse--the way to force a resolution--is to sue the insurer for "breach of contract": for violating their contractual obligation (the insurance policy is a contract) to pay you for your loss. You sue the insurer, not the insurance agent or broker.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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