Life Insurance Beneficiaries: How to File a Claim

NOVEMBER 17, 2020: Losing someone close to you is always a challenging situation to endure. With so much planning required for funeral services and notifying loved ones, it can be comforting to know that filing a life insurance beneficiary claim is usually very straightforward once you understand the process.

Here is what a beneficiary need to do to file a claim and receive benefits from a life insurance policy.

Determine if You’re the Beneficiary

First, it’s essential to track down a copy of your policy if it is not readily available. Then, determine whether you’re the primary beneficiary or a secondary beneficiary. If there is more than one primary beneficiary, you will split the benefit. If you or someone else is named a secondary or contingent beneficiary, no benefits are paid unless all primary beneficiaries have refused to benefit or have died. If the primary beneficiary won’t accept the life insurance benefits, the contingent beneficiary needs to file a life insurance claim with the provider.

Pull Together Important Documents

Having your paperwork in order helps to streamline the process of filing a claim so you can expedite receiving the benefits. Fortunately, there are only a few documents you’ll need to file a claim:

  • Death Certificate: Your provider will need a certified copy of the death certificate. This ensures that policies are being claimed legitimately and helps prevent life insurance schemes. In most situations, you won’t need to file for a certificate yourself. Instead, you’ll need to request a copy from the preparer, usually the funeral home or medical professional.
  • Claim Form: This is where you fill out the policyholder’s information, such as policy number and cause of death. Beneficiaries will also indicate their relationship with the deceased and how they would like to receive payment once the carrier completes processing the claim.
  • Policy Document:This document has all the essential information about the policy itself, including the term, the death benefit amount, specific details, and more. The insurer will cross-check this document with their records to ensure a claim refers to the correct policy.

Get in Touch

You’ll need to reach out to the provider that issued the policy to notify them of the death. Since this starts the payout process, it’s crucial to have all the documents completed and available, preventing delays.

Providers will ensure that you’re the assigned beneficiary on the policy. Insurance companies require the policyholder to provide the name, Social Security number, date of birth, and address to prove identity.

Insurance providers might also need to make sure the policy in question is still in effect as policies lapse if the holder stopped paying premiums or if the life insurance was a term policy (i.e., a policy in place for a certain length of time).

Receive the Payout

Depending on how long it takes to process, the provider may pay out a death benefit within a few weeks, but it could take longer in some situations

Also, it’s worth noting that depending on the provider and the plan itself, there are a few different ways beneficiaries can choose to receive the benefits.

  • Lump-Sum: With this option of payment, beneficiaries get the full death benefit at once. This means that those receiving benefits won’t have to worry about finding other methods to pay for the funeral, leftover bills, a mortgage, and so on. What’s more, taxes are not paid on lump-sums.
  • Annuity:The designated beneficiary may also be allowed to convert the benefits into an annuity  instead of receiving a lump sum payout. An annuity is a financial tool where you invest your first payment, and then you accept payments as specified.

About National Catholic Society of Foresters


At National Catholic Society of Foresters, we pride ourselves on giving back to the communities that we serve by providing quality and comprehensive insurance solutions. We are a not-for-profit life insurance Society, which means the sales from these financial service products help fund member benefits along with social, educational, and volunteer programs designed to respond to community needs.