filing a life insurance claim
If you ever have to file a claim, this section will help you navigate through the process.
Getting acquainted with claims
Can I have more than one beneficiary on my life insurance policy?
Yes. If you decide to name more than one beneficiary, make sure that you specify whether you'd like the proceeds to be paid in equal shares or in varying percentages. You can also designate a contingent beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary passes away.
Can minor children be life insurance beneficiaries?
Though it's legally complicated to make minors beneficiaries, it can be done. In general, you'll need to designate a representative to handle all financial matters in the child's name. It's customary to set aside some monetary compensation from the policy for the person handling matters on your child's behalf.
You'll also need to decide how you'd like your minor beneficiary to receive the money. It's unusual to give minors access to a large lump sum of liquid assets all at once, so you might want to create a trust that distributes a specified sum over time.
Getting acquainted with claims
How do I file a life insurance claim?
First, locate the life insurance policy for specific information. Then contact your insurer. Your insurance company will then assign an agent to help you submit the claim. It's recommended that you work with an agent to facilitate the process.
You'll need to send in the official death certificate along with any necessary extra documents. Note: All documents you send in will need to be the originals or notarized copies. Once all forms and documents have been received and cleared, the insurance company will authorize a payment.
How long does the claims process take?
After you contact the insurance company, fill out the paperwork, and send the required documents, the insurance company will start processing your claim. The processing time varies. In general, most companies offer pretty quick settlements. They want to get money into the hands of grieving, and possibly needy, families with as little aggravation as possible.
The claims process can become lengthy if the claim form and documentation aren't complete, or if the insurance company deems an investigation necessary.
Can my life insurance claim be denied?
In some cases, yes. Your claim could be denied if the insurer discovered that a serious medical condition was omitted during the application process. (Which is why it's absolutely crucial that you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on your application.) The manner of death also determines whether or not a claim will be approved. Generally, policies have a whole list of exclusions built into them, which often includes a suicide clause. The suicide clause voids all payment if the policyholder took his or her own life within a certain timeframe after the policy was purchased.
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This page is intended to provide you with general information about life insurance, and to help you understand the various kinds of coverage. It does not describe or refer to any specific policy or coverage. For information about your particular coverages, including limitations and exclusions, we encourage you to read your policy contract and consult your insurance representative with any questions.