Our Guide to the Life Insurance Claims Process

When it comes time to file a life insurance claim or receive your benefits, you are likely experiencing a great deal of stress and emotion. A loved one has passed away, and you are now responsible for making burial and funeral arrangements, and figuring out their life insurance payout.

The life insurance claims process is a simple one, but it can easily be overwhelming in the difficult period immediately following a loved one’s death. Rather than waiting to think about their life insurance until they have passed or are nearing the end, familiarize yourself with the claims process ahead of time so you will be ready to take action when the time comes. It may seem premature, but it will help you to keep a level head when it’s time to file the claim and allow you to quickly and efficiently work through the process.

The Claims Process

It is not uncommon for beneficiaries to fail to make life insurance claims, altogether leaving hundreds of millions of dollars unclaimed. Sometimes they feel too overwhelmed, sometimes they keep pushing it back to take care of other pressing matters, or maybe they just don’t know which insurer holds the policy or even that their loved one had life insurance coverage.

Instead of growing stressed and foregoing the process altogether, here’s a quick, simplified look at what you’ll need to do:

  1. Obtain the death certificate. This will be necessary in the claims process. It may not be a bad idea to have several copies.
  2. Contact the insurer. If you don’t have the policy or know the policy number, you can contact the insurance agency or agent, and they will look up the policy number for you. Your insurance agent will be able to then give you a more specific idea of what the process will be like and what you will need to do.
  3. Fill out any necessary claims paperwork. This is another reason to contact your agent. Your agent will have the forms on hand and can help you to fill them out. The paperwork will ask you to provide basic details about you and the insured, and will ask how you would like to receive the payout (typically via a lump sum).
  4. Submit the paperwork, statement of claim, and the death certificate to the insurer listed in the policy. Once you’ve done this, all that needs to be done is wait for the benefits to be paid.

Other Things to Consider

If the insured was employed at the time of death, there is a possibility that he or she was also covered through group life insurance at their workplace. Should this be the case, the employer will contact the insurer and beneficiaries upon learning of their employee’s passing.

There may be circumstances where payouts may be delayed. Most insurance policies contain a two-year contestability clause, which states that the insurance carrier can investigate for fraud if the insured dies within two years after obtaining coverage. This can lead to a more significant delay.

In addition, if the insured named their estate as the beneficiary, this could cause a delay. As we’ve discussed before, a benefit payable to the estate will have to go through probate along with the rest of the deceased’s assets.

As with any life insurance question, if you’re confused by the process, always start by contacting your life insurance agent. They are there to help you and would be more than happy to answer questions or guide you through this difficult time.

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. Sales from our financial services products help fund member benefits along with social, educational, and volunteer programs designed to respond to community needs. Our portfolio is extensive, ranging from various life insurance policies to IRA’s to support your financial needs no matter what stage of life you’re in. For more information, contact our friendly experts today at (855) 804-7424.