Filing a Claim: How to Receive Your Benefits in the Event of a Loved One’s Death

person filing a death claim

Filing a death claim in the event of your loved ones death is something no one wants to do. But it’s important to know how to do it. It can be simple if you have the information and documents you need. And knowing which details to have ready can save you from frustrating delays.

How to File a Death Claim

What You’ll Need:

  • You need to be the listed beneficiary on the policy. This means that your loved one chose you to receive the benefit in the event of their death.
  • You need to know who the insurance provider is and the policy number.
  • You need a copy of the death certificate from the funeral home. It is a good idea to get multiple copies because many things – like closing a bank account and filing different types of claims – require them.

Next, contact your insurance agent/producer.* There are several questions your insurance agent/producer should help you answer before you file your claim. If you don’t know your insurance agent/producer call your insurance provider and ask them to put you in contact with the right person.

How to File Your Claim

  1. Ask the agent/producer what types of documentation the company requires to formally file a claim.
    • Most companies require that you submit a death claim form along with the death certificate.
    • Make sure to ask if there are any other forms you need to fill out and where to send the forms and death certificate.
  2. Ask the agent/producer about your claim payment options, including frequency, amounts and timing.
  3. Ask the agent/producer the about the best method to submit your claims information.
    • Some companies may require hard copies. Others might accept online claims.
  4. Submit all required documentation as directed by your agent/producer.
    • Your claim will be paid after the death certificate is received and reviewed by the insurance company. Ask your agent/producer to provide a timeline of the payment process.

In most cases, receiving a death benefit is simple. But, there are always exceptions. Sometimes death benefits are denied or delayed because:

  • The death happened outside of the coverage window.
    • For example, if your loved one had a term life policy but died after the term was over, there would be no benefit from that policy.
    • You didn’t provide the right documentation.
      • Without a death certificate from the funeral home and properly filled out paperwork, the life insurance company will not issue your payment.
      • Your loved one used some of the policy while they were living, using or reducing the death benefit.

With the right documentation and a basic understanding of the policy, filing a claim in the event of your loved ones death can be straightforward. When you and your loved ones are estate planning, make sure to go over the details of any life insurance policies so that you have the information you need when the time comes.

*In WA/OR, agent is producer.

Consult with a professional tax and/or legal advisor before taking any action that may have tax or legal consequences.

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