Pre-Suit Disclosure of Liability Policy Limits

Several states are now requiring disclosure of an insured's liability policy limits prior to suit. Normally, this information is obtained in the discovery process. This is a hotbed issue; so, be sure to check with counsel. Also, even if it's required by statute or regulation, it's a good idea to let the insured know you are sharing the policy limits with a third-party. Finally, whenever there is a question if a claim (or lawsuit) will exceed policy limits, send an excess letter to the insured. 

This chart is current as of the date I wrote it, but adjusters should be familiar with their state’s rules. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the list. Because laws and regulations can change without notice, an attorney should be contacted if there are any questions regarding this chart. These materials are provided for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions because I am not an attorney.

Alabama

In Alabama, an insurer is not legally required to disclose limits of insurance coverage until a claim is filed. Ala. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3). However, the state allows the discovery of the amount of insurance coverage. Policy limits are discoverable in personal injury actions under the rule allowing discovery of the contents of liability policy limits. See Badham, 730 So.2d 135 (Ala.1999).

Alaska

During the pre-litigation stage, Alaska law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

 

Arizona

Insurers in Arizona are not required to reveal policy limits before the filing of a lawsuit. But once a lawsuit is filed, the information regarding the amount of insurance coverage is discoverable.

Arkansas 

During the pre-litigation stage, Arkansas law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

  

California

In California, the terms of an insurance policy are confidential and proprietary between the insurer and the insured. See Griffith v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 230 Cal.App.3d 59 Cal.Rptr. 165 (1991). Under the California Insurance Information and Privacy Protection Act, information about policy limits is “personal information” between the insurer and the insured. Written consent must be obtained by the insurer to disclose policy limits, otherwise; the insurer may be exposed to bad faith liability. California’s requirement to obtain an insured’s written consent before revealing policy limits is found in California Insurance Code § 791.13(a).

  

Colorado

Colorado pre-suit disclosure law which took effect in 2020 mandates insurers who are writing commercial or personal auto policies to disclose insurance policies to their insureds and reveal the liability policy limits to third-party claimants. If the request came from a third party, the insurer needs to provide within 30 days a statement that includes the following: 1) name of the insurer; 2) name of each insured party, as it appears on the declarations page; 3) liability coverage limits and 4) complete copy of the insurance policy, including endorsements. Non-compliance may result in penalties that begin on the 31st day from the receipt of a written request from the claimant.

 

Connecticut

Insurers in Connecticut are required by the statute to provide written disclosure of the insured automobile insurance policy limits to the requesting party, not later than 30 days of receipt of the written request. The written request for disclosure shall be sent via certified mail to the insurance adjuster or to the insurer at its last-known principal place of business. The disclosure must indicate all coverage, including any applicable umbrella or excess liability insurance.

Delaware

During the pre-litigation stage, Delaware law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

District of Columbia 

District of Columbia law requires an insurer to reveal policy limits if a claimant provides a written request which includes the following information if available: 1) date of the accident 2) name and address of alleged tortfeasor 3) copy of accident report 

4) claim number, 5) claimant’s health bills and lost wages documentation, and 6) medical records.

Florida

Florida law requires auto an insurer to reveal the following information within 30 days of a written request: 1) name of the insurer

2) name of the insured 3) liability coverage limits 4) a statement of any policy or coverage defense that the insurer believes is available at the time of filing the statement and 5) a copy of the policy.

Georgia

In Georgia, both the insurer and insureds must reveal policy information. Within 60 days after the written request, the insurer must provide a statement that includes any policies issued, including excess or umbrella insurance, the name of the insurer, the name of each insured, and the coverage limits. Upon receipt of this request, the insurer must immediately notify the insured, insured driver, and/or any other potential person or entity that could be named in a potential lawsuit.  

Hawaii

During the pre-litigation stage, Hawaii law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

 

Idaho

In Idaho, there is no duty to disclose insurance policy limits prior to the filing of a lawsuit. The statute provides that a “party may obtain discovery of the contents of any insurance agreement under which any person carrying on an insurance business may be liable to reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment." See Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(2).  

Illinois

If an auto accident transpired in Illinois, the law requires the insurer to reveal policy limits under a personal private passenger auto policy upon written request within 30 days of receipt. It should include the nature and extent of the insured’s injuries, copies of medical bills, and medical records. The disclosure shall be confidential and available only to the claimant, his attorney, and personnel in the office of the attorney entitled to access to the claimant’s files. See 215 I.L.C.S. § 5/143.24b.

 

Indiana I

Indiana law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits before a lawsuit is filed.

  

Iowa

Iowa law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits before a lawsuit is filed.

 

Kansas

Kansas law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits before a lawsuit is filed.

  

Kentucky

Kentucky law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits before a lawsuit is filed.

Louisiana 

Louisiana law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits before a lawsuit is filed.  

Maine

Maine requires insurers to reveal liability coverage limits of their insureds upon written requests within 60 days of receipt. Should the insured fail to abide by this law, a penalty of $500 and reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses incurred in obtaining the liability coverage limits will be imposed. 24-A M.R.S. § 2164-E.

Maryland 

Maryland law demands an insurer to disclose their limits if a claimant provides a written demand and should include the following information: 1) date of accident 2) name and address of alleged tortfeasor 3) copy of accident report 4) claim number 5) insured’s health bills and loss-wages documentation 6) medical records. 

Massachusetts

Insurers in Massachusetts are required to respond to written requests for liability coverage limits of their insureds within 30 days of receipt of the request. If insurers fail to comply, a penalty of $500 and reasonable attorney’s fees will be imposed. 

Michigan

During the pre-litigation stage, Michigan law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, under Subd. 11., disclosure of policy limits is required. An insurer must divulge the policy limits within 30 days upon a written request of the claimant. See Safelite Group, Inc. v. Rothman, 229 F.Supp.3d 859 (D. Minn. 2017).

Mississippi

During the pre-litigation stage, Mississippi law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

  

Missouri

During the pre-litigation stage, Missouri law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

  

Montana

Under Montana’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, the 9th Circuit has held that there was no duty to disclose liability policy limits in response to third-party claimants’ requests and no violation of the UTPA for same. See Bateman v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., 423 Fed.Appx. 763.

Nebraska

During the pre-litigation stage, Nebraska law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.  

Nevada

In Nevada, policy limits and any disclaimer or limitation of coverage, or reservation of rights, under the insurance agreement, must be provided during the initial discovery and not before. The statute requires that at the written request of the claimant, copies of all medical reports, records, and bills must be provided within 30 days after the date of receipt. As a result of N.R.C.P. 16.1(2), various insurers have stopped requesting medical authorizations during the pre-suit stage of a claim.

  

New Hampshire

During the pre-litigation stage, New Hampshire law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits. However, insurers are allowed to disclose only to the claimant or his counsel the policy of all liability insurance applicable to the defendant. See N.H. Stat. § 498:2-a. “Insurance Coverage Disclosure in Tort Cases." 

New Jersey

Insurers in New Jersey are mandated to provide written disclosure of the policy limits to the attorney no later than 30 days from receipt of the request. The disclosure shall indicate the limits of all private passenger automobile insurance policies and any applicable umbrella or excess liability insurance policies issued to the insured. This law took effect on July 2021 where the request must be in writing and include the information listed in the statute. The Department of Banking and Insurance is in charge to publish on its website the email address supplied by each insurer issuing auto policies for the purpose of receiving requests for policy limit disclosures in accordance with this section.

New Mexico

During the pre-litigation stage, New Mexico law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.  

New York

New York law requires an insurer to divulge bodily injury liability limits to a claimant who made a written request. See Section 3420(f)(2)(A) which provides an obligation for a supplemental UM/UIM carrier within 45 days. 

North Carolina 

Insurers in North Carolina are conditionally required to provide information. This applies to persons injured by another “where such injury or damage is subject to a policy of nonfleet private passenger automobile insurance.” A written request should be sent in certified mail addressed to the insurance adjuster. The insurer must respond in 30 days and must provide limits pre-suit only if the following conditions are met: 1) the injured party’s written consent is included, 2) must agree to the mediation of the claim under § 7A-38-3A, and 3) must include the copy of accident report and description of events.

North Dakota

During the pre-litigation stage, North Dakota law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

Ohio

During the pre-litigation stage, Ohio law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has no pre-suit requirements to disclose limits but all insurance limits are discoverable during the lawsuit. See Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 3226(B)(1).  

Oregon

During the pre-litigation stage, Oregon law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.

  

Pennsylvania

During the pre-litigation stage, Pennsylvania law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits. 

Rhode Island

Any insurer doing business in Rhode Island must reveal to the claimant the amount of liability coverage limits within fourteen (14) days of receiving the written request.  

South Carolina

Insurers in South Carolina need to provide the following 1) name of the insurer 2) name of the insured 3) limits of coverage” within 30 days of a written request from the claimant’s counsel.

 

South Dakota

It appears that there is no pre-suit duty to disclose policy limits in South Dakota, however; it is the insurer’s duty not to knowingly cause or further a third-party claimant’s misunderstanding of the limits. See Railsback v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 2004 S.D. 64, 680 N.W.2d 652.  

Tennessee

Although there is no pre-suit duty to disclose policy limits in Tennessee, an offer of settlement made within policy limits triggers an insurer’s duty to make a good faith effort to resolve a claim such as making counteroffers or disclosing limits.   

 

Texas

In Texas, a “Stowers Demand” can be sent to a third-party insurer that offers an unconditional settlement of a claim for an amount within the insured’s policy limits. Should it be declined and the court decided in excess of limits, the claimant can enforce the entire judgment against the insurer. See G.A. Stowers Furniture Co. v. American Indemnity, Co., 15 S.W.2d 544 (Tex. 1929); Trinity Universal Ins. Co. v. Bleeker, 966 S.W.2d 489 (Tex. 1998).

  

Utah 

Insurers in Utah must divulge policy limits upon a written request of the claimant or claimant’s counsel.

  

Vermont

Vermont’s statute on policy disclosure requires the insured to provide a statement indicating the names of the insurer and insured, and the limits of liability coverage within 30 days of receipt of a written request by a claimant.  

Virginia

In Virginia, a claimant may request the insurer to reveal the limits of any personal injury policy for claims of at least $12,500. The statute requires insurers to respond in writing within 30 days of receipt of the written request which should include the following: 1) date of the accident 2) name and last known address of the alleged tortfeasor 3) copy of the accident report 4) claim number 5) claimant’s medical records/bills, and 6) wage-loss documents.

 

Washington 

It appears that Washington has no statute requiring disclosure of policy limits; however, it is required if the insurer believes that disclosure is in the insured’s best interest. See Smith v. Safeco Ins. Co., 150 Wash. 2d 478, 78 P.3d 1274 (2003).

West Virginia

West Virginia statute requires disclosure of certain insurance information within 30 days of a written request. It should include the following: 1) name of the insurer 2) name of each insured 3) liability coverage limits and the declaration page of the policy. The written request should indicate the date and location of the accident, provide a copy of the accident/injury report, the insurer’s claim number, an estimate of all medical expenses and wage-loss documents, and documentation of the property damage. 

Wisconsin

During the pre-litigation stage, Wisconsin law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits. 

 

Wyoming

During the pre-litigation stage, Wyoming law does not require insurers to reveal policy limits.