Policyholders often ask what happens if they report a claim late to the insurance company. There are important practical and legal reasons for giving timely notice to the insurance company, and you never want to take a chance by reporting a claim late.
The requirements for notice vary based on your policy. An occurrence policy is the more traditional type of coverage for things like automobile accidents, fires, and other torts. A claims-made policy covers claims that could be made years in the future, such as professional liability.
Occurrence-based policies do not necessarily require a timely notice to the insurance company by a certain date. The insured can recover even if there is late notice of the claim. However, if the insurance company can show that the delay prejudiced it, the claim may not be paid. Claims made policies, such as professional liability policies, require notice to be served on the insurance company within the effective period of the policy or they could be denied by the insurance company. You do not want to take the chance that the insurance company can come up with a credible argument of how it was harmed by failing to report what happened timely.
Ultimately, strict adherence to the policy’s notice provisions is the best practice. This means meticulously following the specified procedures and timelines outlined in the policy when notifying the insurance company or relevant parties about an incident or claim. These notice provisions typically detail the necessary information, such as the nature of the claim, the parties involved, and the timeframe within which the notice must be given. Also, the method of serving notice on the insurance company is often specific. By adhering strictly to these provisions, policyholders can ensure that their actions align with the contractual obligations outlined in the policy.
Keep a Record of Your Notice to the Insurance Company
Your notice to the insurance company should include details of the incident and the damage your property sustained. The insurance company may already take their time paying your claim. You may need to negotiate with them to receive all your due money. If you delay reporting your claim to the insurance company, it will give the insurance company a reason to make a later payment.
When you do give notice, you should retain documentation for your files. If you reported the claim verbally, you should record the time, the person you spoke to, and their title. Make copies of any communications about your claim and continue to note conversations with the insurance company. It is crucial to have some type of record in case the insurance company denies that they received notice.
Do Not Draw Any Assumptions if Your Claim Is Late
If you have a claim and have not reported it yet, you should not assume it will automatically not be covered. The insurance company may try to deny the claim, but a court could decide the matter in litigation. You may want to consider contacting a lawyer before you file a claim if some time has passed between the incident and the claim. However, you do not want to be in this legal position, so you should notify your insurance carrier of any occurrence sooner rather than later.
Contact Our New Jersey Insurance Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. if You Need Help With Filing and Processing Your Claim
If you are having difficulty or need assistance with a claim, contact our experienced New Jersey insurance lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. Call us at 908-679-5011 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. We have a convenient office location at 25 Independence Blvd., Suite 301, Warren, New Jersey 07059, and we serve clients in Somerville, Morristown, and across the state.