We are often asked by insureds about the timeframe in which they must file a lawsuit against their insurance carrier related to property damage caused by a storm where the insurance carrier refuses to fully pay for the damage or has denied the claim for damage. This is referred to as the statute of limitations in the legal realm and typically starts at the time of the breach or failure to do the thing that is the subject of the insurance agreement.1
In Nebraska, the statute of limitations relating to breach or failure to pay an insurance claim related to property damage requires that any legal action be filed within five years of the date of loss.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, an action upon a specialty, or any agreement, contract, or promise in writing, or foreign judgment, can only be brought within five years…
While some states allow an insurance company to reduce the statute of limitation, Nebraska provides further protection to policyholders by presenting an insurance carrier from reducing the five year statute of limitations through policy language.
No insurance company shall issue in this state any policy or contract of insurance containing a provision, stipulation or agreement that such policy shall be construed according to the laws of any other state or country, or any provision limiting the time within which an action may be brought to less than the regular period of time prescribed by the statutes of limitations of this state, unless otherwise prescribed by this chapter.
It is important to understand that the protections afforded under Nebraska Statutes § 25-205 and § 44-357 apply to an insurance policy that is issued and delivered in Nebraska. Therefore, Nebraska policyholders should always request a certified copy of their insurance policy following any loss event to understand the coverages in place, conditions, and duties required of them under the insuring agreement. This includes a thorough review of whether the insurance policy attempts to reduce the timeframe to bring legal action relating to any dispute over insufficient or nonpayment of a property insurance claim in which case consultation with an attorney experienced in handling property insurance in Nebraska should be strongly considered.
1 Canavaugh v. City of Omaha, 580 N.W.2d 541, 544 (1998).