In most states, individual insurance companies can establish rules for when you must file a claim. Many companies do not set a specific time frame, such as 30 or 60 days, but instead require “prompt” filing of a claim or mandate that you file “within a reasonable time.” However, you should always check your policy to see if a set timeframe is given.
If you delay for too long, an insurer may deny the claim because of the difficulty of assessing the damages and determining the specific harm the collision caused. However, to deny your claim due to delay, the insurer would need to prove that the time that passed prejudiced your claim or harmed the insurer in some way.
In some states, the law establishes when you must file a claim with an insurer. For example, in New York, no-fault rules apply so you must obtain compensation for minor accidents from your own insurance company regardless of who caused the crash. According to New York law, you must provide written notice of your claim within 30 days of the day after the accident.
If you live in a state that sets limits, you need to comply with them. Otherwise, you may not be able to move forward with your case.
When insurance company deadlines apply, these are different from the time limits for filing a car accident lawsuit. State statute of limitations apply to determine when a lawsuit must be filed. A claim in a lawsuit will be time-barred or not allowed to proceed if you are outside of the statute of limitations.