Southwestern South Dakota has experienced a series of severe hailstorms in recent months with several reports of hail exceeding 2 inches in diameter. These storms have given rise to various issues regarding South Dakota, including time constraints that should be considered by policyholders affected by these hailstorms.
South Dakota Codified Laws 15-15-13 provides a six-year statute of limitations for actions deriving from contractual rights under an insurance policy. Although insurance companies will often try to shorten the time a policyholder can sue for underpayment, it is important to understand that the South Dakota legislature and the courts have made it clear that an insurance company may not shorten a six-year statute of limitations by political language.
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled over forty years ago:
[I] It is the state's general policy that restrictions on documents on a contract should be established by the legislature and not by contractual provisions or by the insurance commissioner. 1
In this regard, South Dakota's codified laws § 53-9-6, first enacted in 1887, prohibit an insurance company from shortening the time a policyholder must address a cause of action:
Any provision in a contract that restricts a party from enforcing his rights under it, or by limiting the ordinary legal proceedings in ordinary courts, or limiting his time to it, is invalid.
Failure to bring an action within the prescribed limitation regulation may lead to termination and inability to recover benefits. If your claim for property damage has been denied or unreasonably delayed, consider talking to Merlin Law Group to discuss the information about your claim and options available under the law.
1 Leuning v. Dornberger Ins. , Inc. 250 NW2d 675, 676 (SD1977); see also Sheehan v. Morris Irrigation 410 NW2d 569, 570–71 (SD1987) (“We believe that the right rule is that the law should set the limitation periods, not private contracts …. A security may limit the extent of its liability, but not the time to bring an action. ")