How to File a Life Insurance Claim

File Your Claim Fast in 3 Easy Steps

It’s unfortunate that a life insurance claim calls for paperwork which is hardly welcome to anyone facing the loss of a loved one.

Fortunately, you can follow the simple steps below if you’re not sure how to file a life insurance claim.

Below, we’ll show you exactly what to do to make sure you receive the full death benefit from the life insurance policy and explain your options for payout.

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3 Steps to File a Life Insurance Claim
Get the Death Certificate
Speak with Your Life Insurance Agent
File Your Claim With The Life Insurance Company
Payout Considerations when Filing a Life Insurance Claim

How to File a Life Insurance Claim

3 Steps to File a Life Insurance Claim

Legal and tax reasons require beneficiaries to file claims for a life insurance policy to be paid out. Here are the steps you should know.

1. Get the Death Certificate

The first step is to get a copy of the death certificate of the deceased. It’s actually best to get multiple copies of the death certificate. Depending on the nature of the life insurance company and policy, several people may ask for a copy of this important document.

Sometimes a marriage certificate copy can be helpful as well, especially in case of ex-spouses using names from former marriages. You also need access to current mortgage or loan paperwork, credit card statements and employee benefit information. These will come handy in case of any discrepancies to serve as proof of your loved one’s possessions.

2. Speak with Your Life Insurance Agent

Life Insurance Agent Talking on Phone

Always call your insurance agent first to ask about the paperwork required for any life insurance policies owned by the deceased. If the life insurance policy turns out to be a part of an employee benefits package, contact the employer to ask for the procedure.

One doesn’t always know the type of life insurance policies a spouse or family member carried. Employers, credit card companies or other financial institutions offer group life insurance policies. They are easy to sign up for and can often be free or very inexpensive. If possible, review credit card statements and bank statements and find out from the employer or benefits administrator about any additional insurance coverage the deceased may have held.

Other possible policies could include travel life insurance, mortgage life insurance, accidental death insurance, and credit life insurance. Each of them can be significant so study the fine print in all related paperwork. Ask lenders specifically about death benefits if you are unable to find the information in the departed person’s records.

3. File Your Claim With The Life Insurance Company

Every adult beneficiary of a life insurance policy needs to fill out a proof of death form for the company behind the life insurance policy.

This requires a copy of the death certificate, which you should already have. Ask your insurance agent to get you these forms and help with the process. All of you have to fill out other associated forms too, that fulfill income reporting requirements for the IRS.

The processing period should take less than a week.

The insurance company will review your claim, confirm validity of the policy and fulfillment of other requirements. If the insurance company feels the policy conditions have not been met, for instance the death certificate may be missing, the phase is likely to be delayed until the requisite information is obtained.

Payout Considerations when Filing a Life Insurance Claim

If the insured person had chosen a payment plan, you’ll find out at the time of filing your claim. Certain plans could allow beneficiaries to choose a payment option once they become eligible for the payments.

Life insurance policies are paid out to beneficiaries usually in the form of lump sum payments. This is the preferred option due to the lack of income tax being levied on the proceeds, allowing beneficiaries to be free to invest and manage their proceeds.

Other options include regularly scheduled payments, which is usually used for beneficiaries incapable of managing a large sum of money, like children, and settlements where the insurance company invests the policy funds, paying the interest proceeds to beneficiaries.

If you’re still not sure how to file your life insurance claim, give us a call and we can answer any questions you might have.