How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Claim in Missouri?
Dealing with an insurance company is one of the most difficult parts of a personal injury case. Insurance companies are notorious for mistreating their clients and policyholders during claims processing. This is because insurance companies are for-profit organizations that are constantly looking for ways to increase their bottom lines. It is important to know how long an insurance company has to decide on a claim and issue payment under Missouri law. This can allow you to protect yourself from insurance bad-faith delays.
Insurance Claim Timeline in Missouri
According to Missouri’s insurance laws, insurance providers have 25 business days, on average, to decide whether to accept or reject a claim. From there, however, the insurance company does not have a specific deadline to cut the policyholder a settlement check. The insurance company must only act in a reasonable and prompt manner. The average timeline of a personal injury settlement in Missouri is as follows:
10 working days to send a letter of acknowledgement to the client stating that the insurance company has received the claim. This is also the deadline for the insurance company to send the policyholder instructions for completing proof of loss forms and submitting any necessary documentation for the claim.
15 working days after receiving the policyholder’s completed proof of loss forms to come to a decision on whether to accept or reject the claim. This investigative period can be extended to 45 days, in some cases, if the insurance company requests this extension with a valid reason for the delay.
“Promptly.” Although Missouri law does not give a specific deadline on how long an insurance company has to pay a settled claim, it does require the insurer to do so in a prompt manner. This means an amount of time that is reasonable for the insurance company to cut the settlement check and mail it to the recipient.
Keep track of the timeline of your specific insurance claim after an accident or injury in Missouri to check for unjust delays. Keep a record of all of your correspondence, including your original claim and any letters you received from the insurance provider. Tracking your timeline can allow you to act if the insurance company infringes upon your right to a timely settlement.
What if an Insurance Company Is Taking Too Long?
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to take its time investigating, reviewing and deciding on a claim. While some insurance companies have valid reasons for delays, such as a lack of cooperation from other parties, an insurance company may intentionally delay a claim as a tactic to save money or prolong payment. If you believe that an insurance company has taken longer than 25 days to complete your claim without a valid reason, you may be a victim of insurance bad faith.
Insurance bad faith means that an insurance company is violating its legal obligation to handle your claim in an honest and good-faith attempt to resolve it. The insurer is intentionally mishandling your claim in an attempt to save money. If you have proof of insurance bad faith in the form of an unreasonable claims processing delay, you may be able to sue your insurance company for this type of wrongdoing. An insurance bad-faith lawsuit in Missouri could result in additional financial compensation awarded to you as a penalty against the insurance provider.
If you believe that you are being mistreated by an insurance company while trying to settle a claim in Missouri, consult with a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City right away for legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand and exercise your rights if an insurance company is delaying your claim without just cause.