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Q

After a fender bender how long does the person who has been hit have to request to have the car fixed and supply an estimate in Texas?


A

The Texas Department of Insurance (DOI), the insurance regulator for TX, does not list a definite time period in which you should make your claim, just as soon as possible after the accident or damage is done so that the insurance carrier is informed within a reasonable amount of time.

The insurance company you are dealing with may have their own guidelines for how long you have to make the claim. If you are using your own coverages read the terms of your policy as well as speak to your insurance agent. If you are making a third party claim then make the claim as soon as possible and then the claims adjuster assigned to your case should inform you how to go about getting estimates for the damage and then how to get the repair work done.

If you wait awhile to make the claim then the insurance company may want to know why there was a delay and to make sure more damage was not done to the car in between the time the accident occurred and when you made the claim.

Once you have placed your claim, Texas has a number of regulations listed in the TX Insurance Bill of Rights in place to aid you as an insurance consumer. One such regulation is that you be treated fairly when making a claim and have the right to have prompt payment of claims once they have been reported.

The Texas DOI also suggests that if you report a claim by phone to follow up in writing so that you protect your rights under the TX prompt payment of claims law. This law sets guidelines such as:

  • The company must respond within 15 days after receiving your claim in writing.
  • After you submit any requested documentation, the company has 15 days to accept or reject your claim.
  • Once the company agrees to pay your claim, it must send a draft or check within 5 business days. A company that cannot meet the above deadline must send you a written notice explaining why.
  • However, the Texas' prompt payment of claims law does not apply if another driver's insurance company is paying for your accident. The company is required to act in utmost good faith and make a prompt and fair settlement.

Contact the Texas Department of Insurance for more information on any statute of limitations there may be in TX for placing a claim for damages sustained in an auto accident.


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