Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 12, 2022

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Just What's Essential

  • You can receive car insurance claims electronically and by mail.
  • Some insurance companies let you file claims through a mobile app.
  • File car insurance claims within three days.

Are you waiting for an insurance company to send a claim check? Car insurance companies pay out claims using different methods, but which one is faster?

Do not worry – we are here to answer your questions about insurance claims.

Our guide explains how to get an insurance claim faster and which insurance companies are the best at paying out claims.

How do insurance companies pay out claims?

Car insurance companies pay claims using various methods. Check out this list to see how insurance companies pay claims to their customers:

  • Electronic-fund transfer (EFT). Your insurance company can send you or the repair shop the claim electronically.
  • Paper check. A car insurance company may send a paper check by mail when necessary.
  • In-person. It’s rare for an insurance agent to give you money in person, but some situations may require cash payouts.

Some claims are paid out directly to you or the repair shop. If you have bodily injuries, you will receive payments as a paper check unless you have given the insurance company your direct deposit information.

Which payment method is the fastest?

EFT is the quickest way to get your claim payout. In some cases, it takes about seven to ten business days to get your claim.

How long does it take for you to receive a car insurance claim?

It should take 45 days or less to receive an insurance claim. The time it takes to receive a car insurance claim varies, but if you file your claim urgently, you can reduce the time it takes to resolve your claim.

When should you file an insurance claim?

You should start the car insurance claim process within 72 hours of an accident. Once a car accident occurs, the statute of limitations starts (a time limit to file a claim for bodily injury or property damage).

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What are the different types of insurance claims?

There are multiple insurance claim types, but the car insurance industry has several. If you are ever in an accident, you must correctly identify what type of claim you want to start.

Here is a list of different types of auto insurance claims:

  • Liability car insurance claim. You can file a claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • Collision car insurance claim. Use this claim when you’re at fault in an accident and need coverage for your damaged vehicle.
  • Comprehensive car insurance claim. This claim type is strictly for unforeseen accidents that damage cars, such as flooding, fires, storms, falling objects, and vandalism.
  • Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance claim. File a UM claim if the at-fault driver has no insurance or if you’ve been hit or injured by a hit-and-run driver.
  • Underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance claim. This coverage claim provides a claim check when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough on their coverage limits to pay injuries and property damage.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) claims. You can file PIP claims to cover injuries and other medical bills even if you’re at fault in a car accident.

Your insurance rates could increase after a claim is filed. Collision and PIP claims that are not your fault do not drive up your rates, but each insurance company is different.

Which car insurance companies are the best at paying claims?

Most insurance companies do well when paying out claims to customers. One of the best judges for claim payout performance is A.M. Best.

A.M. Best monitors insurance companies’ financial strength, credit ratings, and claim satisfaction (how customers feel about their insurance company). Car insurance companies that perform well in these areas have the highest grades.

But how do the top insurance companies in America perform? Let’s look at the latest A.M. Best ratings to find out.

A.M. Best Ratings of the Best U.S. Auto Insurance Companies
Car Insurance CompaniesA.M. Best Ratings
AllstateA+ (Superior)
American FamilyA (Excellent)
FarmersA (Excellent)
GEICOA++ (Superior)
Liberty MutualA (Excellent)
NationwideA+ (Superior)
ProgressiveA+ (Superior)
State FarmA++ (Superior)
TravelersA++ (Superior)
USAA (Military & Family Members)A++ (Superior)
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GEICO, State Farm, Travelers, and USAA are the highest-rated insurance companies. But American Family, Farmers, and Liberty Mutual have weaker A.M. Best ratings. Overall, all companies on the list provide an excellent ability to meet obligations to customer claims.

How do you file a car insurance claim?

If you want to know how to file an insurance claim, you’ll need to follow specific steps to get your payout. Follow the instructions listed below to learn how to file a claim.

  • Step One. Contact your insurance company and let them know you need to file a car insurance claim.
  • Step Two. Give the representative or agent your name, address, policy number, and driver’s license number to verify your identity.
  • Step Three. Choose the type of car insurance claim you need to file.
  • Step Four. Confirm the claim with the representative.
  • Step Five. Send photos, medical bills, estimates, police reports, etc. to your claim adjuster.
  • Step Six. Pay the deductible, if any.
  • Step Seven. Wait for the insurance company to send the claim money.

The process may take longer for some insurance companies, but the formula on how to cancel a car insurance policy is similar. Follow up as much as possible to ensure you’re getting the claim you need.

Will I get multiple car insurance claim checks?

It depends on the accident. For example, if you file a liability insurance claim against an at-fault driver for injuries and car damage, you could receive several claim checks for medical bills and repair costs.

And some claim checks are not final. If the extent of your loss gets worse because of a car accident, the insurance company has to cover your expenses up to the policyholder’s coverage limit.

What does it mean when someone files an insurance claim against you?

Do not panic when someone files a claim against your car insurance company. If you are at fault, you want the not-at-fault driver to file a claim with your insurance company.

However, insufficient coverage limits could bring a lawsuit. Your situation may require a lawyer once a matter becomes legal. If you are going to small claims court, it is a matter of proving your case. However, we recommend that you get legal advice from a professional.

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Do car insurance claims cover personal items?

Your insurance company won’t cover personal belongings if they are damaged in an accident or stolen from your car. You will need personal property coverage.

You can get coverage for your personal items if they are damaged or stolen under personal property insurance. However, personal property coverage won’t cover items that you lost.

Make sure you look at your personal property insurance policy closely. If your limits are too low, the personal property insurance option may not cover your belongings.

How Do Insurance Companies Pay Out Claims: The Bottom Line

Most of your claims are paid out electronically or by mail. You can choose to have your claim check sent to the repair shop, the healthcare center, or to you.

But the fastest payment method is electronic-fund transfer. It could take a few days to process, but it is quicker than receiving it in the mail.

On average, it takes up to 45 days for a car insurance claim to finish. However, the right method of payment can shorten the time it takes for you to get your insurance claim.

Check out our article on what to expect when filing a car insurance claim for more details.