Can car insurance claims ever expire?

Car insurance claims expire at different times depending on the state. File the claim with your insurance company quickly after an accident.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • Always make sure to read your insurance policy and understand all the aspects of the coverage.
  • If you are in an accident, report it immediately to law enforcement to make sure your insurance will cover it.
  • Before purchasing any coverage, shop around and receive several quotes to ensure you get the best deal.

Is there a statute of limitations on a car accident? The legal statute of limits upon filing car insurance claims varies from state to state. Your policy usually delineates the amount of time you have to file a claim, but the best practice is to file the claim with your insurer quickly after the accident.

Failure to do so can impair the insurance company’s ability to settle the claim quickly and with accuracy.

Do this as quickly after receiving the policy as you can, even if it is a replacement policy. The language and coverage may vary from year to year.

Sometimes the differences are subtle, but sometimes they can increase your deductible.

Find out how long you have after an accident to report a claim, and then take the time to do it.

If you are looking for a policy, start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool below.

How long do you have to make a car insurance claim?

  • Call law enforcement to examine damage and circumstances.
  • Report the incident to your insurance company.
  • Do not begin repair on your automobile until it is approved by the insurance adjuster.
  • Collect incidental bills such as medical charges, transportation charges, towing charges, and other emergency services to submit to the company.

Sometimes when you are involved in a minor automobile accident, the other party will first suggest that law enforcement not be called and then suggest you settle the matter between yourselves to avoid citations and not involve insurance companies.

The pitfalls of doing this include:

  • The other party may not have insurance and the damage is more than you estimated
  • Whiplash and other injuries take a while to show up. If you have left the scene of the accident, you may not receive the medical care you need.
  • The other party can give you fictitious names, addresses, and information
  • They can also later report the accident to law enforcement, making it appear to be your fault.

It is best to report accidents to law enforcement to protect yourself even though it may take extra time.

Law enforcement will usually allow the person to make an unverified statement that assesses no liability, but sometimes this is not true.

Here are a few recommended steps to observe upon filing a claim:

  • Know the policy and coverage you purchased
  • File claims as soon as you can to avoid running into time limitations
  • Make certain that all the information you give is complete and correct
  • Keep copies of letters and e-mails that you or the company sends to verify coverage and questions
  • Keep notes about when and whom you talked to with regard to the claim.
  • Policies require you to move your auto to protect it but do not begin repairs without the authorization of the insurance company
  • Have an idea of the amount of damage was done by an independent party before settling your claim. Hidden damage to suspensions and engines may be lurking unknown to the adjuster

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to Do When You’re in a Car Accident

  • Protect yourself and your passengers by calling law enforcement and emergency personnel
  • If it is drivable, move your vehicle to the edge of the road
  • Offer your name and vehicle’s insurance information
  • Do not share your address and driver’s license information with anyone but law enforcement officers to prevent identity theft

Shop Carefully for Car Insurance Coverage

Before you have an accident, recognize the possibility that you may have one and prepare yourself. Look for these things in an automobile insurance policy:

  • Check to see if the insurance company is licensed in your state. Go to your state’s insurance department to verify this
  • Examine the financial status of the company and their record of handling claims available from NAIC
  • Insurance company ratings available from A. M. Best, specializing in insurance ratings
  • Determine your state’s minimum requirements for automobile insurance and determine the best amounts for your family
  • Insurance protects you from lawsuits, the consequences of accidents, and help you heal from injuries acquired in accidents

Comparing Rates and Coverage Can Save Money and Stress

Obtain at least three different quotations on your insurance policies. You might consider asking the following questions about coverage:

  • Does the insurance company increase my rates for having accidents?
  • What deductible is correct for me and my budget?
  • If I purchase comprehension and collision on my car, how much would I receive if the vehicle were totaled?
  • Does the company require that I use their contractors to fix my car?

Automobile insurance is a necessary part of life in our world. Shop carefully, assess coverage, and then have confidence in the company selling you insurance.

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by entering your ZIP code in our FREE tool below.



Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption