Can I accept an offer to settle a claim after offer time limit expires?

Incident was 4 months ago. Offer expired 20 days ago. Incident was damage to my vehicle by an employee of a large national auto service center chain while servicing the vehicle. Their adjuster they are self insured put a limit of 30 days on their offer to settle. We only noticed that there was a limit expressed at the bottom of their email – the release itself, which we printed and put in our “todo” pile, does not have a time limit on it for acceptance and thus we missed that fact. The adjuster’s email also said that they’d “close the file” after that time. Is that a “real” legal deadline? Or, just their approach to try to bring quick closure?

Asked on September 11, 2012 under Insurance Law, Texas


Howard Shernoff

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The one making an offer is considered the “master” of the offer and can dictate the terms of acceptance. If the adjuster made an offer that expired in 30 days, then technically it cannot be accepted after that because it no longer exists. However, insurance companies generally are under a duty to investigate, adjust and settle claims reasonably. If you were to contact the company, explain the situation and state your desire to accept the offer, it likely would be unreasonable for the company to turn you down. The duty of reasonableness applies to all aspects of claim settlement, including the amount of payment.

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