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Timely Notification, Insurance Policy

To claim benefits under an insurance policy, you generally must comply with all of the obligations under the policy on your end. This includes timely notification of a claim.

What is considered “timely notice”? It will depend on the language of the insurance policy, but, without any more clear deadline, the insured must provide prompt notice. This is usually a factual determination for a judge or jury. Perhaps more importantly, an insurance company may permissibly deny a claim when an insurance company is harmed or prejudiced by the failure to timely comply with the notice requirement.

There are two prominent defenses to failure to comply with timely notice: first, there is the excuse of incapacity, which is where an accident prevents the insured from providing timely notice; second, an insured may show substantial compliance with the timely notice provision, thus excusing literal performance. Tresner v. State Farm Ins. Co., 913 S.W.2d 7, 9 (Mo. 1995).