To Know How To Claim Life Insurance After Death is very importance if your loved one had life insurance before they died. To claim life insurance after a loved one dies, you need to start by finding the policy document. Then you can look into speaking with the life insurance company. Life insurance often forms a substantial part of the deceased’s estate, and can release funds for the funeral and ease other concerns. Bear in mind that a life insurance payment is different to a funeral plan. A prepaid funeral plan is exactly what it sounds like, whereas the funds you receive from a life insurance claim don’t necessarily need to go on the funeral.
You may feel buried under paperwork with all the forms to fill in and letters to send, which can be exhausting. Read through the following advice for more information.
How to Find Out If Someone Has Life Insurance After They Die
Even if your loved one didn’t leave their documents in order, you can begin tracking policies with information below.
1: Talk to Friends, Family Members, and Acquaintances: If you are unsure whether the dead had a life insurance policy, talk with people outside of the immediate family. Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to people you’re not as close to about subjects related to death and dying. For that reason, your loved one may have confided about their benefits in friends, spiritual leaders, doctors, or social groups they were a part of (such as book clubs or exercise groups).
2: Search Personal Belongings: If your loved one had a policy, there is likely some record of it amidst their personal belongings. Check paperwork in his or her home and business. Accessing safe deposit boxes can be more difficult, and requirements vary by state. In most cases, you’ll need to have the key to the box, as well as a copy of the death certificate. You will also need proof of relation — a marriage certificate or executor’s testament, for example — and a photo ID. If you do not have the key, there may be an extra fee to drill into the box. Once opened, bank officers can deliver life insurance documents to named beneficiaries, but other contents must remain in place until a will or estate plan is executed.
Even if there is no record of the policy itself, there are other documents that may give you some clues:
- Business cards of insurance agents, attorneys, accountants, or financial advisors can connect you to potential contacts who may have helped secure a policy.
- Bank statements or cancelled checks may show payments to life insurance companies.
- Address books and planners may have useful contacts.
3: Check Old Bills & Mail: Life insurance companies will continue to send premium notices and updates via mail and/or email, so be sure to check your loved one’s mail and email. Credit card and other financial statements may also help you find out if a policy exists.
4: Contact Employers and Member Organizations: Contact past and present employers, as well as professional and social organizations of which your loved one was a member. Many people receive free or low-cost policies through work or as a member benefit. Even if your loved one was retired or no longer active in these groups, the policy could still be in place.
5: Do an Online Search: Several websites offer free search tools to help users find unclaimed assets, including death benefits. Simply type your loved one’s name into the search box at any of the following sites below:
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners – Life Insurance Policy Locator
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators – Unclaimed.org
There are also companies who will search for a lost policy for your loved one. Representatives will contact hundreds of life insurance companies on your behalf to determine whether your loved one had a policy. Fees vary, and scams involving this type of service do exist, so do your research before you go this route.
6: Call Your State Insurance Commissioner’s Office: If you haven’t had any luck locating a policy, get in touch with the Insurance Commissioner in your state. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website lists the contact information for each state office. When an authorized person makes an inquiry to a policy, the state office typically forwards the request to licensed agencies within the state. The agencies will perform a search and, if a contract is found, will then make contact. If the person making the request is not an authorized party, the agency will not contact him or her, but will attempt to contact the named beneficiary.
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Does Your Living Relative Have Life Insurance?
Though the best way to figure out if your relative has coverage is to ask him or her, there are some situations where it’s not an option. For example, if your loved one lives with dementia or mental illness, he or she may not be able to tell you the status of his or her coverage. The same may be true if your relative has been
injured in a sudden accident or unforeseen medical emergency. If you need to know if your living relative has life insurance, you should follow the same steps listed above.
How To Claim Life Insurance After Death
First, alert the life insurance company to your intent to make a claim. Contact details will be on the insurer’s website and on the policy document. You can contact them by telephone, postal and, more frequently, using an online claim form.
To make the claim, make sure you have the following:
- The death certificate. Your funeral director can provide a certified copy of the death certificate for a fee. You will need to purchase several copies if you have more than one life insurance policy, and these documents are essential for other necessary administration. It is illegal to make your own copy of the death certificate and it will not be accepted as a valid document.
- Claim form. This is provided by the life insurance firm, and will require basic details including name, date of death, name of birth, and claimant details.
- The policy document itself. When the insurance policy was issued, the company will have sent through a policy certificate. This maybe in a file with other important documents in a desk or cupboard.
Send the documents to the insurer via recorded delivery, as it can be lengthy and difficult to replace these documents if they get lost in the mail.