How long can an insurance company put off a settlement offer?

How long can they ignore talking to you? I had a truck flip threw a barn that I rent. The driver had insurance but it doesn’t want to except the dollar amount that we stated. They seem to be delaying and apparently don’t want to even discuss this with us.

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Accident Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I don't believe that there is a hard-and-fast deadline for any responses from an insurer, since insurance companies are allowed time to conduct investigations, decide what to do, etc. Also, there is no requirement that an insurer offer you a settlement, or even that they have to speak to 3rd parties (i.e. not their policy holder). If the insurer won't respond to you, your recourse is to sue the driver for any damages he or she caused. The insurer will then have to step in and defend the person, if he or she has applicable coverage. There is a tendency to ascribe too much power and authority to insurers; however, their only obligation is to their own insured, not to other people, and that obligation is limited to--when there is coverage--defending the insured and paying if there's a judgement against him or her. So if you were injured by or suffered property damage from another driver, and the driver's insurer won't offer you anything, you then--if it's worth it, economically--need to sue.

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