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How long do insurance claims take and how soon can you claim?

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Making a home insurance claim can be quite a stressful process, but it’s likely that many insurance providers will try to make it as smooth sailing as possible for you. If it’s the first time you’ve made a claim, you may be wondering how much time a claim can take to go through or how soon you can claim on your insurance after taking it out. Below, you can find the answers to these questions and more to make you aware of what to expect.

How soon can you claim on insurance?

Once you’ve taken out insurance, you can typically make a claim any time after the start date on the policy. It’s worth checking what this is as sometimes the date you paid for the insurance isn’t necessarily the official start date. But there’s no rule that says you have to wait a certain amount of time before claiming.

As soon as an incident has occurred, you should contact your insurance provider to get the ball rolling. Depending on the type of incident, the longer you leave it the worse the damage can get. This is particularly the case after a flood or leak in the home, for example, so don’t hesitate. Many providers ask that you get in touch within 24 hours.

If you’re unsure how to make a claim, you can use this handy claim guide.

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How long does an insurance claim take?

Once you’ve made a claim through your current insurance provider, the only thing you can do is wait, unless your provider advises otherwise. Behind the scenes, they’ll be getting everything sorted for you and will likely be in touch to tell you if and when the claim has been successful.

The time that it takes an insurance claim to finalise could be anywhere between a week, a month or even a year. It depends on a number of factors, such as the type of claim, the complexity of the situation, how severe the damage is and how many people are involved in the process. For instance, a multi-vehicle car accident will likely involve lots of people who all have different insurance providers. Each insurance company will need to spend time liaising with the others to determine what happened and how they will deal with it. Usually, home insurance claims are less complicated than this, as it’s generally just one household that’s involved.

The claim may also take longer if you have multiple items that you’re trying to claim for. A house that’s been flooded with many items of furniture damaged will take longer than a single item, so do take this into consideration.

How long the claim takes also depends on the severity of your situation. For example, if you’ve had a house fire, the insurance company will try to work as quickly as possible so that restoration work can begin. However, if you’ve claimed for a smashed mirror or a broken television, the claim may take longer as these incidents are not as serious. Insurance providers will often deal with many claims at a time and often have to prioritise depending on customer need and the complexity of the claim.

There are lots of different factors, which is why it can be difficult to explain how long your claim could take. When your claim has been approved or denied, your provider will be in touch to let you know the outcome and what you can do next.

How to check an insurance claim

There are a number of ways you can check the status of your claim.

The first is by phone. You can phone your insurance provider at any time to get an update on your claim. However, it’s likely that there won’t be any significant changes day to day and if there are any important updates, your provider will be in touch themselves.

Alternatively, some providers offer updates if you log into their website. As a policy holder, it’s likely that you have an online account with your provider. You can log in and see recent activity on your account as well as relevant updates. If your provider offers this, then it’s absolutely worth creating an online account to stay up to date.

Some providers may have gone a step further and could even have their own app. If you have a smartphone, you can download the app and stay updated that way. You’ll be able to see any major updates at a glance and you could even turn on notifications so that the app notifies you when a claim is complete.

Is there a time limit on settling an insurance claim?

Generally speaking, there is no maximum time limit for how long it can take to settle an insurance claim. While unusual, this means that the claim could go on for some time without coming to an agreement or a conclusion. This is quite rare and most claims won’t take longer than a year to complete.

When it comes to claiming on your insurance after an incident, you must do so within six years. This is laid out in the Limitation Act 1980, that states you can claim up to six years after the event, but no longer than this. When an accident occurs, most people want the problem solved immediately, so it’s rare that a person would wait this long. Once this time period has passed, you cannot claim on your insurance for that incident.

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