My car burned up in my garage. how long can ins. co. wait to pay me .

Asked almost 3 years ago - Rockwall, TX

car in garage, house burned while i was out of town. they are investigating why house burned. how long can they wait to pay me?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Patrick R. Scott

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Additional information is necessary to determine exactly how long your insurance company has to pay your claim. For instance, what date did your house burn down? When did you report the claim? In Texas, the insurance company is required to follow the "prompt payment of claims" statute. This is located in the Texas Insurance Code at 542.051-542.061. The statute applies to what are called "first-party" claims. These are claims that must be paid to you as the insured under the policy.

    As to the deadlines required for payment, we look to the statute. Under 542.055, the insurer must acknowledge receipt of the claim and commence investigation within 15 days of receipt of notice. The insurer must notify you in writing of the acceptance or rejection of the claim not later than the 15th day after the insurer receives all of the required information from you. Once the insurer notifies you of its intent to accept the claim, they have five days to pay you.

    These laws were enacted several years ago to prevent abusive behavior by insurance companies. If the insurance company does not properly comply with the prompt payment laws, then they may have to pay attorney's fees and additional damages, calculated as 18% per annum on the amount due to you under your policy. Keep in mind if the insurer denies your claim and it is later determined that they should have paid you, then an additional 18% per annum can be added to your damages. Likewise, if the denial is proper, then the company is not liable for any statutory penalties.

    I suggest you contact an insurance coverage lawyer to determine your legal rights and whether the insurance company has properly complied with their obligations under Texas law.

  2. Mark Steven Humphreys

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Very good question.
    Very hard to give you a straight answer.
    The Texas Insurance Code, Prompt Payment of Claims Act is what is used as a guide on the time limit. There are many ways the insurance company can violate this act but there are also many ways for the time period to get extended, depending on many different situations.
    For your part, it is important to cooperate with the insurance company. Your failure to cooperate can void coverage. But if they are suspecting arson, and it kinda sounds like they are ... you need to get an attorney involved and I mean NOW. Talk with an attorney before you talk with the insurance company any more. The reason is to make sure you do not say something that could hurt your claim.
    If they have not performed an examination under oath (EUO) they probably intend to. That is not a good sign for you.

  3. John F. Younger Jr.

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Mr Scott has given you a thorough and well reasoned answer. Your insurance company is obligated to conduct a complete investigation to find the cause of the fire. They usually investigate to satisfy themselves that arson was not involved.

    Once the company is satisfied as to the cause of the fire, based upon their own investigation, you should expect payment within a reasonable time

    Good luck.

    Mr. Younger is licensed to practice law in Texas. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an... more

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