How long can an insurance company wait to pay out for a totaled car?

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How long can an insurance company wait to pay out for a totaled car?

My car was hit and totaled on April 22nd. The other driver was at fault. The
other driver’s insurance company The General hasn’t done anything yet. They
wont answer my calls and the agent seems to be perpetually ‘on vacation’. Is
there a deadline to when they must pay for my vehicle? The one time I talked to
the agent he tried talking me into using my own insurance ‘for convenience’. I
think they’re just trying to hold out as long as possible til I get frustrated
and go with my own, but I don’t plan on that. Any help would be appreciated.

Asked on May 22, 2019 under Insurance Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There is no deadline because they are not required or obligated to pay you unless and until you sue their driver and win in court. Remember: the other driver's insurer is their insurer, not yours--the other driver is their client and pays them. They do not owe an obligations to you; their only obligation is to their customer, to defend him from lawsuits and/or pay on his behalf. Sometimes, they will decide to pay voluntarily without a lawsuit being filed, if they believe that the case against their driver is strong and that the injured party is likely to file suit--in that case, why spend the money on litigation you think you'll lose? It may make more sense to offer a settlement ahead of time. But that is their choice--they do not have to settle with you, or offer you anything, unless you sue their driver and win.
Therefore, the only way to move this along if they are nonresponsive is to file a lawsuit against their driver.


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