How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Investigate a Claim Before Payout?

The length of time an auto insurance company may take to investigate a claim is governed by regulations in individual states, but most jurisdictions require a payout 30 to 45 days after a settlement offer, according to Black's Law Dictionary. Auto owners should contact their state department of insurance for specific information pertinent to their case.

After a vehicle owner files a claim, a claims adjuster from the insurance company contacts her to collect additional information and seek clarification about what happened, describes, a privately owned website. After evaluating all the information, the claims adjuster determines whether or not the claim is valid and, if so, how much the insurance company proposes to pay.

Once an offer has been made by the claims adjuster and the insured accepts it, an insurance company has up to 30 to 45 days to pay in most states, according to James Hirby of Black's Law Dictionary. If an insurance company takes longer than that, it is subjected to hefty fines and the delayed payment may begin accruing interest.

Hirby recommends that the insured person retain a lawyer if she feels the insurance company is drawing out the process unnecessarily or quoting an unreasonable or incorrect payment.