Five Important Steps to Claiming Life Insurance

by Dylan
(South Africa)

When a loved one dies, grief can be over whelming. Sometimes, it is hard to move past the pain to get theirs as well as your own affairs in order. Not only do you have to deal with the hurt of losing someone but final expenses or dependent status can dramatically change your life. Life insurance is for those expenses that you personally cannot afford.


This is especially true when you were solely dependent on the deceased or if they left a large number of bills. Typically, creditors will fight the next of kin for their loss. Here are five important steps to claiming your loved ones life insurance policy.

1. Find or obtain the actual, physical life insurance policy. If you know or suspect the deceased had a life insurance policy, but cannot find it in their paperwork, you have a few options. Contact your insurance broker and explain the situation. They can help you locate the provider or point you in the right direction.

Also, you could contact the American Council of Life Insurance by mail and send a self-addressed stamped envelope. They will contact all the insurance companies to find your policy, however this costs a substantial fee.

2. Obtain a copy of the death certificate. Contact the funeral director or your state's statistical department and obtain the certificate. Usually, you must provide valid identification and pay a small fee for coverage.

3. Fill out the claim form. It is important that you fill out the life insurance claim form accurately and truthful. Every claim will be checked and double-check before payout begins. If you need help filling out the form, contact your personal insurance provider. They can give you feedback and answer most questions without worry. Additionally, you could get in touch with the deceased insurance broker to discuss the terms of the policy and to ask any questions that you have.

4. Send the death certificate as well as the claims form to the life insurance policy provider. You have three options to get the necessary information of the claims office. Send the documents to the office through the mail. Be sure to have the broker’s name as well as the correct address for the firm. You could also fax the information to the broker’s office. Many places offer free or low cost fax services. Typically, it is just a few cents per page depending on the company. If you live close to the broker’s office, you can drop the paperwork off in person.

5. Choosing payment.There are a few ways payment can be distributed. Sometimes, in the policy, the deceased may have added a clause of how payment shall be made (over-time or one lump sum). Usually though, the beneficiary can decide on what type of payment they would like to receive. For immediate bills and final costs, upfront payment is the most common. However, if you need to live for an amount of time on the claim, over-time would be the best option.

Dylan is an insurance expert and writes about investing, personal finance, car and life insurance. He is currently studying life insurance quotes. You can follow him on twitter @iHoundCoZa

This article is approved for informational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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