Life insurance is most valuable to you in times of need, which is why it's important to know in advance when and how to file a claim. Insurance companies are required to pay insurance claims promptly, but there are steps you or your loved ones will have to follow to receive the proceeds. Though the specific details will vary according to your policy, here are some general things to know.
- Keep beneficiaries up-to-date. A common reason for a delayed claim is when policies are old and have outdated beneficiaries. Often, old policies name spouses, siblings, and even parents as beneficiaries. If the original beneficiaries have predeceased the insured, you'll have to round up a lot more paperwork to receive the insurance proceeds, and potentially create estate issues.
- Read the claim instructions carefully and provide everything requested. One area in which many beneficiaries get tripped up is in the nitpicky details of filing the claim. If you don't fill out the paperwork properly or provide all the documents the insurance company requires, it could delay the payout. Remember, insurance companies are like most bureaucracies: they want their “t's crossed” and their “i's dotted”. Understanding the details and avoiding errors is critical to avoiding delays.
- Understand the fine print. Every insurance policy has fine print. Life insurance policies may have contestability periods that give the insurance company the right to investigate a death and dig deeper into an insured's medical history. Don't worry too much. It's very rare for an insurance company to investigate a death, but it's still very important not to lie on an insurance application or misrepresent your medical history. Make sure that you understand what will happen if a policy lapses and is reinstated.
- Work with a professional. One of the many benefits of working with a qualified insurance professional is that we can help your loved ones navigate the process of applying for life insurance benefits. Typically, insurance companies rely on the family of the deceased to notify them of an insured's death and file a claim. If the family doesn't know about the policy, they may miss out on the benefits they deserve.
A financial professional can help you organize your financial life and help ensure that your family has expert help when they need it most. To request a complimentary life insurance review, please contact our office.
The content within this presentation is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Customers should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own situation. This presentation is not an offer to purchase, sell or exchange any product. Insurance products and any related guarantees are based upon the claims paying ability of an insurance company. Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results.