We all know that when a statute runs, your rights to bring a claim are lost. In California, the insurance policy dictates how long an insured has to bring a lawsuit or claim against an insurance company in the event of a loss. During the time the insurer is adjusting the claim, the time limit is tolled and effectively, an insured’s time to bring a claim stands still during the adjusting period.
However, I’m often told by adjusters and insureds alike they believe further tolling may occur if the insured brings to an insurance company’s attention that further reconsideration on a claim is needed after a denial. In California, the law is clear. Once an insurance company renders an "unequivocal denial,"1 the time for tolling a claim ends. Courts have determined once an unequivocal denial is tendered to an insured, there is no justifiable reason the claim should be tolled further. This means any request for reconsideration by an insured does not extend the time to sue or cause any further tolling.2 When a written denial is passed onto the insured, the insured has no way to resurrect his or her rights by asking for reconsideration.
1 In the matter of Prudential-LMI Commerical Ins. v. Sup. Ct., 51 Cal. 3d 674, at 678, an unequivocal denial is one that is in writing.
2 See Singh v. Allstate Ins. Co.(1998) 63 Cal. App.4th 135.