Legal Memorandum: Statute of Limitations and Insurance Contracts

Issue: What is the statute of limitations for an action involving an insurance contract in Georgia?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Insurance Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Statute of limitations; An insurance contract; Contract actions
Jurisdiction: Georgia
Cited Cases: 375 S.E.2d 873; 668 S.E.2d 732; 241 S.E.2d 627
Cited Statutes: O.C.G.A. § 9-3-24; O.C.G.A. § 9-3-26; O.C.G.A. § 10-1-401
Date: 01/01/2009

An action for breach of a simple written contract must be filed within six years of the breach.  See O.C.G.A. § 9-3-24.   Other actions on contracts must be brought within four years of the accrual of the cause of action.  See O.C.G.A. § 9-3-26.   There is a two-year statute of limitations for violations of the Fair Business Practices Act.  See O.C.G.A. § 10-1-401.  However, the case law indicates that the one-year limitation period set forth in most insurance policies, including this one, would trump the statutory limitation for contract actions.  See Bullington v. Blakely Crop Hail, Inc., 294 Ga. App. 147, 668 S.E.2d 732 (action for insurance benefits was governed by one-year limitation in policy not six-year statute of limitations), recons. denied (Oct. 21, 2008); Jet Air, Inc. v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co., 189 Ga. App. 399, 375 S.E.2d 873 (1988) (failure to file within twelve months as required by policy was fatal to claim).  But see Lee v. Safeco Ins. Co., 144 Ga. App. 519, 241 S.E.2d 627 (1978) (some of insured’s claims were not barred by the one‑year limitation period set forth in the policy).


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