Car insurance: what are the compensation deadlines for a car accident?

This is a question that every driver has surely asked themselves. How long do you have to wait between a car accident and compensation from insurers? The first thing to know is that the compensation times for an auto claim vary depending on the nature of the claim, its severity, but also and above all depending on your insurer. More details in this short guide.

What does the law say about the time limits for compensation for an auto accident?

Reimbursement deadlines in the event of an auto claim vary from one auto insurer to another. Admittedly, the law defines a general framework for insurers, but each company is free to set its deadlines.

This is also one of the reasons why it is advisable not to compare the different car insurance taking into account only the rates. Repayment deadlines must also be taken into account. By using an online comparator, be sure to inform yourself about this parameter in order to actually make the best choice.

To give you a general idea, here are the deadlines provided by law for major auto claims:

Compensation deadlines for property damage

In the event of a collision with another vehicle or an obstacle, the insurance company normally has up to three months to send the insured a reimbursement proposal. During this period, it can send a team of experts to assess the extent of the damage and define the exact amount of compensation.

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Deadlines for compensation for an auto accident with bodily injury

If the insured suffers bodily injury following an accident, the insurer has a maximum period of eight months to make a refund offer. This period is often necessary for the full assessment of the consequences caused by the disaster. If the proposal made is accepted, the company then has a one-month period to pay the amount of compensation.

Compensation delays after car theft

In the event of car theft, the insurer makes a proposal to the insured within 30 days following the declaration of theft. If the vehicle is found before this time, the insured can play on his other guarantees. On the other hand, if the car is found after payment of the indemnity, the insured can keep the financial compensation received or leave the old car with the company.

Compensation deadlines after a natural disaster

If an insured’s car suffers damage following a natural disaster, the insurer has a period of 3 months to pay him financial compensation. To benefit from this compensation, the insured must provide a copy of an order stipulating the state of natural disaster.

Deadlines for compensation for an auto accident: Pay attention to reporting deadlines

In order to benefit from a reimbursement, an obligation is made to the insured notify his insurance company when he is involved in a car accident. The deadline for this depends on the type of claim:

  • In the event of car theft, the declaration must be made within 2 working days at most;
  • For car accidents, the deadline to respect is 5 working days;
  • The glass breakage guarantee is only valid if the declaration is made within 5 days disaster ;
  • For natural disasters, the insured has a maximum period of 10 days business from the date of publication of the order noting the state of disaster.
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The declaration can be made online, by sending a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or physically at an agency of the insurer. The procedure varies from one insurer to another.

But in all cases, if the reporting deadlines are not respected, the insurer may decide to not pay the indemnity provided for in the contract.

Also read: How long does it take to declare a car accident?

What to do in case of delay in reimbursement of car insurance?

If an insurance company does not meet the deadlines for compensation for an auto accident, the insured can take legal action to claim their due.

In accordance with the provisions of article 1153 of the Civil Code, late payment interest, the amount of which varies according to the delay observed, may be required. For a late payment of less than 2 months, for example, the legal rate is increased by 50%. Beyond 2 months, interest corresponds to double the legal rate.

Note, finally, that it is also possible to obtain damages if the delay in the payment of compensation by the auto insurer causes damage to the insured.

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