How Do I File a Life Insurance Claim?

how do I file a life insurance claim

Why Do We Need Life Insurance Coverage?

There are few things, if any, that can compare to the agony of losing a loved one. Such ordeals often leave the bereaved with emotional and psychological scars which can take years to recover from. The situation can become even worse if the deceased is a bread winner and their death results in financial difficulty.

Love for another person always comes with a reflexive desire to protect them from all things that threaten their safety or emotional and psychological state. Whereas it is impossible to completely safeguard from the loss of a loved one, it is possible to ensure that those left behind upon your untimely passing, do not fall onto tough financial times.

This is why many people purchase life insurance policies. Essentially, to serve as a safety net for their families. In the US, there are approximately 267 million life insurance policies in place.

When dealing with the loss of a loved one, it is natural to feel empty, frustrated, disoriented, and also lack the will power and desire to continue with the normal activities of everyday life. However, if your loved one took the effort to take out a life insurance policy for your and other dependents’ sake, it’s best to have their investment go to good use.

How to File Life Insurance Claim

Not sure how to go about making an insurance claim? Do not worry. This article highlights all the steps you need to take, hopefully making the process easier for you.

1. Gather all the Relevant Documents

In order to collect the death benefits of a life insurance claim, you will need to present documents to the insurance company. The process cannot begin without these documents as they validate your claim. Therefore, even before you begin the claims process you must gather the necessary documents.

Fortunately, you will only need three documents:

  • Death certificate – To prevent fraud and ensure your claim is legitimate, you will need to provide the insurer with a certified copy of the death certificate.
  • Policy document – Upon taking a life insurance policy, one is given a policy document that outlines the specific terms of their coverage such as the policy term and death benefit. You will need to provide this document to the insurance company for counterchecking purposes to ensure details on the document and their records match.
  • Claims form – The claims form, also known as request for benefits, is a form in which you fill out with the policy holder’s information. This includes the cause of death and their policy number. Other details you will be required to give include your relationship to the policy holder and your preferred method of payment once the claim is processed.

Once these documents are ready and the claim form is filled out where necessary, send them to the the insurer.

2. Reach Out to The Insurance Company

Even after sending the relevant documents to the insurance company, reach out to them and inform them of the death of the policy holder. This helps streamline the process and reduce the amount of time it will take for you to receive the death benefits.

3. Wait for the Insurance Company to Process Your Claim

At this point, you have done your part. From here on, the insurer will do a bit of fact checking on their part before paying out the claim. Life insurance policies are term-based and the insurance company will first confirm that that the policy in question is still active. A policy may not be payable if the duration for the coverage lapsed, or the policy holder failed to pay their premium as required.

They will then proceed to ensure that you are indeed the rightful beneficiary. This assures that claims are not paid out to the wrong individuals and no other claimant will has the grounds to question the legitimacy of the payout.

4. Receive the Death Benefits

Once the insurer ascertains that everything is in order, they will payout the claim. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the insurance company’s policies and the life insurance policy. Usually, claims are paid in lump sums or annuities.

Lump Sum

If you opt for the lump sum payment, the entire proceeds from the death benefits will be paid out in one payment. This can help reduce the financial burden of covering expenses such as pending hospital bills, funeral costs, tuition, and mortgage payments, among other things.  You will also not have to pay taxes for death benefits if they are paid out in a lump sum.


If you have no pressing financial concerns, insurance companies provide the option for collecting death benefits in the form of annuities. These are financial instruments in which an investment – the death benefit – is made, and paid back in annual installments for a predetermined number of years.

Being an investment, you will collect more than the initial value of the death benefit, albeit may take several years.

How Long Does It Take for Life Insurance Claims to be Processed?

The amount of time it takes for a life insurance claim to be paid out varies from one insurer to the next, and also depends on the particular circumstances of each claim. Though, it can take a few days, the process also often extends to up to two months.

Fortunately, it is in the insurer’s best interest to pay out claims as soon as possible. This is because there are interest charges levied on unpaid death benefits. However, each insurer has their own deadline to payout claims, and different states have imposed varying statutes of limitations in regards to this issue. Therefore, to gain a clear picture of how long your claim may take, find out the insurer’s policies, as well as the statute of limitations in your state.

Safeguard the Future of Your Loved Ones

Life can be unpredictable, which makes it exciting but also brings an element of uncertainty. Are you comfortable not being sure whether your spouse and children will be able to continue with their normal lives should anything happen to you? If not, gain a bit of piece of mind and certainty of their future, by purchasing a life insurance policy.

Need to find an insurance company that suits your needs? EINSURANCE is an online platform that enables you to compare different insurance providers. Contact us today to find the insurance company suitable for your needs.


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