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How long will it take for my claim to be settled?

We all get insurance for one reason – so that we’re protected in the event disaster strikes. Because really how many of us could afford the cost of repairing rebuilding or replacing an asset such as a home or car when an accident happens? Very few. Which is why we happily pay premiums on insurance policies designed to help us get back on our feet. (Okay maybe not happily but we pay anyway because the alternative is worse.)

When the unthinkable does happen we put in a claim and expect the insurance company to sort it out pronto with the same degree of efficiency with which they collected our premiums. The only problem is things don’t always go that way. While some claims are settled promptly – within hours of being filed – others could take a while; days weeks and even months. This can leave you wondering – how long will it take for my claim to be settled?

Why is this so? Because by its very nature insurance is subjective . It all depends on each circumstance. Just as your policy may differ from that of your next-door neighbour the circumstances surrounding your claims differ. Those differences will affect how quickly (or slowly) your claim is settled.

The factors that to consider include:

1. The type of claim you are filing

Typically the more complex a claim the longer it will take. For example a car insurance claim involving a fender-bender where you were rear-ended is pretty simple. It’s obvious (to most) what caused the accident your car can be evaluated relatively quickly and repairs can begin. Whereas with a house fire the cause of the fire would have to be investigated and the rebuild and replacement process navigated. There tends to be a lot more things involved with homes! Therefore they will generally take longer to settle.

2. Severity of the damage

A fender-bender that breaks your tail light would most likely be settled faster than a serious accident in which the insured car is a write off. It’s just logical. The same with a claim under your home insurance where there is a small damage compared to one in which you’d have to replace the entire roof. The higher the cost of repair or replacement the more likely that the insurer will take its time assessing the claim before paying out.

3.  Cooperation of the parties involved

Another thing to bear in mind is that settling your claim requires the cooperation of several people. This may include the person involved in the accident with you his or her insurer people in various departments at your insurance company a medical practitioner where a medical claim is involved and more. If one of these people drags his or her feet it will affect the others and ultimately how long it takes to settle your claim.

4. The number of claims on the queue

Just like the local pharmacy where you get your flu shot insurance companies have busy seasons too. For example if there has been a flood in your city the number of people making a claim will be higher than normal. That will affect the time it takes to settle each claim.

5. Coverage discrepancies

There’s what you’re covered for and then there is what you think you’re covered for.  If there’s a discrepancy between your policy and your claim i.e you’re not covered for what you think you are or for up to the amount you were expecting to get then there’s going to be a lot of back and forth between you and your insurer. And that means a longer wait time. This is one factor that’s well within your power to control – by simply being aware of the extent of your coverage you can save yourself time and headache in future. Give your broker a call right away to help you understand your coverage.

As you can see many factors are responsible for determining the speed with which your claim is settled. Sometimes no matter what you do the claims process takes longer than you would like.