Insurance settlement

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Insurance settlement

In Georgia what is a reasonable amount of time for an insurance company to take
in settling a claim for a house fire that was a total loss?

Asked on February 11, 2019 under Insurance Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no one-size fits all answer, since some claims require more investigation and some investigation simply takes longer. A house fire typically takes longer than most, since generally a fire dept. arson report is needed; there may have to be investigation of the insured, to see if he/she had any reason to set a fire (e.g. excessive debt that they needed insurance for, or a house underwater on value); and there are likely a lot of home furnishings, appliances, and possessions to both determine if it's credible that you had them and confirm the value of for claim purposes. At not-quite three months, in my experience for a house fire claim, this is starting to push what is acceptable, but is definitely not yet outside the bounds of what is reasonable--four to six months on a complex claim is not unheard of. 
If it gets to the point that you are not wiling to wait any longer and believe they are simply dragging things out and refusng to pay, your recourse is to sue the insurer for "breach of contract"--for violating the contractual obligation (an insurance policy is a contract) to pay when the facts of the claim and terms of the policy require them to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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