law-limitations-period-shortened-by-contract | statutes of limitations | time-barred claims | running of limitations period

MODIFICATION OF LIMITATIONS PERIOD BY CONTRACT (INSURANCE POLICY)

By establishing a reasonable time within which suit must be filed, limitations periods protect against stale
claims and diminish the prospect that a case's resolution will be impaired by loss of evidence, death or
disappearance of witnesses, fading memories, or disappearance of documents.  Murray v. San Jacinto
Agency, Inc., 800 S.W.2d 826, 828 (Tex. 1990).  

Contract actions typically are governed by a four-year statute of limitations.  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. § 16.004 (Vernon 2002).  However, an insurer may limit through contractual provisions the time for filing
suit; such provisions are valid and enforceable.  Bazile v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 784 S.W.2d 73, 74 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1989, writ dism'd).  Contractual limitation provisions in an insurance policy may not
create a limitations period shorter than two years.  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 16.070 (Vernon 2008).
The Travelers policy at issue here sets the limitations period at two years and one day.  See also Tex. Ins.
Code Ann. § 541.162 (Vernon 2009) (establishing two-year limitations period for claims under Chapter 541 of
the Insurance Code).  
Sheppard v. Travelers Lloyds of Texas Ins. Co. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 15, 2009)(Boyce)
(summary judgment for insurer on breach of contract and
violations of the Texas Insurance Code claims
affirmed)(breach of contract and statutory insurance code claim denial cause of action time-barred,
accrual
date, contractual shortening of limitations period)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Boyce   
Before Justices Anderson and Boyce    
14-08-00248-CV   Anthony Sheppard v. Travelers Lloyds of Texas Insurance Company    
Appeal from 125th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
John A. Coselli




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