Claim Money From Life Insurance Policies

One of the most important steps everyone should take to protect their family upon their demise is to purchase a life insurance policy. Individuals with children feel a responsibility to protect their future even if they are not around. Preparing a will and purchasing life insurance provides peace of mind that their family will not have to suffer from financial hardships after they are gone. Even though making sure that they take these important steps toward providing for financial security for their families, many fail to communicate their intentions with their beneficiaries. Communication is key to preventing unnecessary delays or lost payouts to families of the deceased. It is critical for the policyholder to inform beneficiaries about the existence of the policy, the insurance company, and the insurance agent's name and information for filing a claim.

Notify the Life Insurance Company

Family members and beneficiaries must notify the insurance company of the policy owner's death. This starts the process that is necessary for claiming benefits. In most cases, the life insurance company will not know about the death until informed by the family. If the deceased has failed to leave information about the policy, but a relative believes that one exists, there are ways to track it down.

Conduct a Paperwork Search

The executor of a loved one's estate should have access to any files, safes, or safe deposit boxes where legal documents are stored. Family members should watch the mail for bank statements or anything relating to life insurance policy payments. Search all personal files for policies or statements. Sometimes people are disorganized or may forget about having a life insurance policy, as they get older. Medical conditions may prevent them from remembering or informing family about the policy. It is not unusual for policies to be lost or misplaced.

Where to Begin Filing a Claim

It is possible to make a claim for benefits even if the name of the insurance company is not known. The actual policy or policy number is not necessary, because the insurance company can find that information from the deceased name. A person must be listed as a beneficiary to file a claim. It is up to a beneficiary to prove beneficiary status through documentation. Insurance companies require claimants to fill out paperwork before claims are considered. Some companies have claim forms that can be completed and submitted online along with required documents such as a death certificate. Sometimes family members may feel guilty about claiming insurance benefits so soon after the death of a loved one, but it is better to start the claim process as soon as possible. It is good to remember that the reason the decedent purchased the policy was to prevent any financial hardship for the family. The purpose of life insurance is to ease the financial burden that comes with the death of the primary family breadwinner.

How to File a Claim

Filing a life insurance claim is a straightforward process that only requires basic information. The claim form is known as a "request for benefits" form. All information must be factual and current. The form will request the policyholder’s name, policy number, and cause of death. Information is required relating to the claimant or beneficiary. The form must be completed and returned along with the policy document, if available, a certified copy of the death certificate and any other pertinent information requested by the insurance company.

Finding and Claiming a Suspected Insurance Policy

When a relative dies without informing anyone about the whereabouts of legal documents including a life insurance policy, there are ways beneficiaries can obtain that information. It may require a lot of work, but is worth it. Insurance companies must release funds when there is confirmation of a policyholder's death and documentation of beneficiary status. An investigation conducted by Consumer Reports magazine found that more than $1 billion in benefits go unclaimed. There are several websites dedicated to helping individuals find unclaimed life insurance benefits, including the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Another good resource is the American Council on Life Insurance. This website helps beneficiaries find missing life insurance policies. Each of these agencies requires that claim forms be completed and submitted along with required documentation before claims can be paid.

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