How Long Does It Take the Insurance Company Take to Respond to a Demand Letter?
How long does it take for an injury company to respond to a demand letter in a personal injury case? It depends on the jurisdiction, the size of the case, the complexity of the medicine of the injuries, and whether there is a dispute about who is responsible for the crash.
It also depends on the insurance company. Some insurers give a response to a demand letter more quickly than others.
In most states, the insurance adjuster has no obligation to respond to your demand letter. Even in states where they do have an obligation to communicate with the victim within 30 days or some other period, the law does not impose a significant penalty when an insurance adjuster simply ignores a demand letter.
You must understand that the insurance adjuster is not trying to be fair with you and generally has no obligation to be fair. They want to pay you as little as possible. When you complain about how long an offer takes, you are showing weakness. You are telegraphing that you desperately want to settle. If an insurance company does not respond to our demand letter in a timely fashion, our lawyers file a lawsuit.How Long Insurance Companies Take to Respond to Demand
We performed an analysis of 110 cases at Miller & Zois to answer the question of how long individual insurance companies take to respond to demand packages.
The chart below shows personal injury claims handled by our firm, broken down by the insurance company. Our lawyers compared the time from when our demand package on behalf of our clients was submitted to the insurance company, to the time it took them to respond with their initial offer.
We did not include cases where our client became tired of waiting for the insurance company and instructed us to file suit.
|Ins. Comp.||No. Cases||Avg. (Days)||Shortest (Days)||Longest (Days)|
|Maryland Auto Insurance||3||77||42||116|
|Total Most Common Providers||26||56|
|Ins. Comp.||No. Cases||Avg. (Days)||Shortest (Days)||Longest (Days)|
|Agency Ins. Co.||1||21|
|Auto Injury Solutions||1||18|
|James River Ins. Co.||1||98|
|Mac Risk Mgt.||1||87|
|National General Ins.||1||112|
As the timeline chart illustrates, the average response time from the insurance companies that handle most of the claims is about two months.
Our lawyers always want to push the insurance company along. We want to settle every car accident case as quickly as we can. But we cannot advance the case at a speed that will compromise the value of the case. Our second goal is to get a quick settlement. But our first goal is to maximize the value of your claim.
Obviously, there are real limitations to this study. You would need a sampling of thousands to get reliable data within a small standard deviation, particularly given the factor at play in individual cases.
Some factors that influence the time it takes for the insurance company to respond to our demand package with their first offer. Some of these response time factors include:
- Whether there had been earlier communications regarding the client's injuries and medical bills
- How the amount of medical bills compares to the policy limits for the at-fault driver
- The amount and complexity of the medical records and bills
- Whether or not the client had any previous accidents and/or treatment
- Internal circumstances within the insurance company, such as the caseload of the adjuster
- The size of the insurance policy at issue
The last factor, the size of the insurance policy, is a big factor. Take, for example, an insurance company like Progressive that typically writes small policies that are cover only the state minimum of $30,000 per claim. This means that when the value of the claim exceeds $30,000, the claims adjuster can put down their pencil. That speeds up the process.
Larger cases with companies that write larger commercial policies - like Travelers, Chubb or Brethren - are going to take longer to evaluate. Plus, there are more bureaucratic lawyers with larger cases. The bigger the claim, the higher you have to go up the food chain to get upper management to sign off on the evaluation of the case. This takes more time which is why a trucking insurer is going to take longer than passenger car insurance companies.
- Why is it taking so long to get a settlement check?
- How to write a demand letter, along with sample demand letters in different types of personal injury cases
- How to figure out the settlement value of your claim
Is there a path to getting a faster response to your demand letter to get a faster settlement? Absolutely. Simply become the squeaky wheel and call the adjuster every day, adamantly complaining that the settlement offer is taking too long.
There is just one problem with this route. You are telling the adjuster that you really just want to settle your case and you have no willingness to go to trial.
Adjusters smell blood. The settlement offer reflects that perceived weakness in your willingness to file suit. Parenthetically, this is why it is important to have a lawyer in serious cases that have a history of success in a courtroom. If your law firm does not have a history of success, your offer is going to suffer.
Also, submitting records and bills a bit at a time does not speed up an offer to settle unless the injuries are severe and the bills are high at the beginning of the claim. The insurance adjuster might be concerned about their driver's policy limits and legal exposure.
The average time frame for fully resolving an auto accident insurance claims varies greatly depending on whether the claim involves personal injuries or just property damage. If the claim is limited to property damage to the vehicle (no injuries) claim resolution shouldn't take over 6-8 weeks. If you are claiming personal injuries related to the accident, the timetable for resolving the claim is around 8 to 16 months.
Based on our study above, two months is about the average time it takes to get a response from an insurance company after you send them a demand letter in an auto accident case.
Erie Insurance Group is slow in responding to demand letters. Based on our own internal analysis of over 100 individual auto accident cases, Erie Insurance had slowest average response time for demand letters. In a sample of 10 cases, Erie's average time to respond to our demand letter was 86 days. The shortest response time from Erie was 6 days and the longest was 6 months.
Progressive, a company we do not enjoy working with, might be the fastest company to respond to a demand letter. Our analysis of over 100 auto accident claims found that Progressive had the fastest average time for responding to demand letters. In a sample of four cases, Progressive's average time for responding to our demand letter was 30 days.
Before we start congratulating Progressive, one possible explanation for this is that Progressive tends to write smaller insurance policies with limits of $50,000 or under. This means Progressive is more likely to deal with policy limit claims that can be resolved much faster.
State Farm probably responds faster in 2021 than this study would suggest. Our lawyers sometimes get a State Farm settlement offer within 30 days.
If you feel like the insurance adjuster is taking too long to respond to your demand letter, your only practical option to speed things up is to start contacting them on a regular basis until they respond. The downside of this tactic, however, is that it may signal to the adjuster that you are desperate to settle and get paid. This might prompt the adjuster to make a lower settlement offer on your claim.
If you have been hurt in a traffic accident, you need a lawyer with experience, resources, and a track record of success. Call 1-800-553-8082 to speak with a car accident attorney who specializes in handling these claims or get a free online no obligation consultation. Find out if Miller & Zois are the best lawyers for you.