How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in Arizona?
Once you have done your part by submitting a claim to an insurance company in Arizona, you have no choice but to sit and wait for the company to respond. Luckily, you don’t have to wait indefinitely – Arizona law gives insurance companies strict deadlines by which they must respond to claims and settle them. If an insurance company violates these rules without due cause, it may be guilty of insurance bad faith.
Important Insurance Company Deadlines in Arizona
After you file an insurance claim in Arizona, the insurance company cannot take as much time as it wants to respond to your claim or pay out a settlement. State law in Arizona lays out the following deadlines by which insurance companies must respond to and process claims:
- 10 working days to acknowledge the receipt of an insurance claim, as well as to send the policyholder claims-filing instructions and the necessary paperwork. This includes the policyholder’s proof-of-loss documents.
- 15 working days to decide whether to accept or reject the claim after receiving the claimant’s proof-of-loss forms and all of the necessary paperwork.
- 15 total days after accepting a claim to release a settlement check.
Generally speaking, this gives an insurance company about 40 days to resolve a claim from start to finish. This should be enough time for the insurance company to communicate with the claimant, gather documents and information about the accident, determine the validity of the claim, and make a payment.
What Can Slow Down the Insurance Claims Process?
There are certain scenarios that give an insurance company legal grounds to extend its response times. If a claim is especially complex or difficult to investigate, for example, the insurance company can request an extension. However, the insurance company must give a good reason when it makes the request. An extension could give an insurance company 45 days to determine whether to accept or reject a claim instead of 15.
There may be things that you can do to speed up the insurance settlement process in Arizona. For example, you can avoid making mistakes on your initial claims paperwork. Provide full, accurate and clear information about your accident and adequate proof of your losses to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth with the insurance company. Communicate with the insurance company in a timely manner to cut delays. You can also hire an attorney to help you move more efficiently through the insurance claims process.
What to Do if You Suspect Insurance Bad Faith in Arizona
Although you may be eager to end an insurance claim and receive a settlement, it is important not to rush the process. Jumping to accept a fast settlement or the first offer could result in receiving less than you deserve for your claim. This is especially true if you suffered serious injuries in an accident and need to wait until you reach your point of maximum medical improvement. In this scenario, rushing into a settlement before you fully understand your injuries and future medical costs can mean losing the money that you need for latent care.
On the other hand, excessive delays on the insurance company’s part should be a red flag for misconduct. If you are ready to resolve your claim but an insurance company is taking an excessive amount of time to process your claim or pay, this could be a sign of insurance bad faith. Delaying a claim is a favorite strategy used by insurance companies that wish to take advantage of clients and save money on payouts.
A delay in claim payment, for example, is often a carefully calculated tactic to wear down a claimant and convince him or her to settle for less. Before you give in and bend to the insurance company’s will, consult with a bad faith insurance attorney at Surrano Law Offices. You may be entitled to file a bad faith lawsuit against the insurance company for mishandling your claim and taking too long to reach a settlement. Call (602) 264-1077 for your free consultation.