Each state has its own time limit which specifies how long you have to file a claim or lawsuit and varies depending on the type of claim, such as bodily injury or property damage.
Most states allow you two years to file a car insurance claim, but depending on where your accident occurred, you could have anything between one to ten years.
Even within the same state, time limits can differ depending on the type of claim. A comprehensive claim, for example, may have a different time limit than a bodily injury claim.
|State||Bodily Injury||Property Damage|
|Alabama||Two years||Two years|
|Alaska||Two years||Two years|
|Arizona||Two years||Two years|
|Arkansas||Three years||Three years|
|California||Two years||Two years|
|Colorado||Three years||Three years|
|Connecticut||Two years||Two years|
|Delaware||Two years||Two years|
|District of Columbia||Three years||Three years|
|Florida||Four years||Four years|
|Georgia||Two years||Four years|
|Hawaii||Two years||Two years|
|Idaho||Two years||Two years|
|Illinois||Two years||Five years|
|Indiana||Two years||Two years|
|Iowa||Two years||Five years|
|Kansas||One year||Two years|
|Kentucky||One year||Two years|
|Louisiana||One year||One year|
|Maine||Six years||Six years|
|Maryland||Three years||Three years|
|Massachusetts||Three years||Three years|
|Michigan||Three years||Three years|
|Minnesota||Six years||Six years|
|Mississippi||Three years||Three years|
|Missouri||Five years||Five years|
|Montana||Three years||Two years|
|Nebraska||Four years||Four years|
|Nevada||One year||One year|
|New Hampshire||Three years||Three years|
|New Jersey||Two years||Six years|
|New Mexico||Three years||Four years|
|New York||Three years||Three years|
|North Carolina||Three years||Three years|
|North Dakota||Two years||Two years|
|Ohio||Two years||Two years|
|Oklahoma||Two years||Two years|
|Oregon||Two years||Six years|
|Pennsylvania||Two years||Two years|
|Rhode Island||Three years||Ten years|
|South Carolina||Three years||Three years|
|South Dakota||Three years||Three years|
|Tennessee||One year||Three years|
|Texas||Two years||Two years|
|Utah||Four years||Three years|
|Vermont||Three years||Three years|
|Virginia||Two years||Five years|
|Washington||Three years||Three years|
|West Virginia||Two years||Two years|
|Wisconsin||Three years||Three years|
|Wyoming||Four years||Four years|
What If You Don’t File Your Claim Immediately?
The longer you wait to file a claim, the more likely it is that your insurer will investigate and possibly deny it.
Your auto insurance policy might very well state that you must file a claim immediately or within 24 hours of the damage to your vehicle.
Waiting longer, however, will not prevent you or another driver from filing a claim or lawsuit months or years later — as long as your claim is filed in accordance with state laws. This is due to the fact that some injuries or mechanical damage do not become noticeable until days or weeks after an accident occurs.
Insurance companies may be suspicious if you or another driver waits too long to file a claim. They will frequently investigate whether the damage was caused by the covered accident or if it occurred later. They may deny coverage if they discover valid reasons to doubt your claim.
Is It Necessary To Report a Car Accident?
Reporting may not be required at all in minor accidents where no insurance claim will be filed. Most states require you to report accidents involving injuries or property damage totaling more than $2,000 in value.
Even though, because certain injuries and vehicle damage do not become noticeable until days or weeks later, it is always best to contact the police immediately after an accident. The police report will be used as evidence for all reports filed with the DMV and any claims filed with your auto insurance company.
How Long Are You Given After a Car Accident To Report It?
Most states require you to report an accident as soon as possible, but some allow up to 30 days. It is expected that you will call the police at the scene of the accident in states where you are required to report immediately.
While you may have up to several weeks to report an accident, doing so as soon as possible after the collision will likely speed up the claim process and increase your chances of recovering your losses. Police reports are vital evidence for insurance companies and courts, and having an officer assess the scene of the incident assists insurers in determining clearly who was at fault.