For a vast majority of people, life insurance is a way to invest and provide for their families. It is considered an indispensable part of long term financial planning. The basic idea is to ensure that there is enough money from the policy to cover day to day expenses when the policy holder retires or dies. Whether one chooses a term life or a whole life insurance policy, it is a good idea to purchase more coverage to meet future needs. In many cases, life insurance coverage has helped heirs get through difficult times.
Considerations Before Filing A Claim
This is one of the toughest jobs for survivors to do. Funeral related expenses, paying off creditors, medical bills if any, day to day expenses, children’s education – the list is a long one. Before filing a claim, it is important to check if the policy meets the following conditions:
- Whether the policy is still in force
- Have all the premiums been paid
- Whether the policy has matured
- Who is filing the claim – survivor or policyholder
- If it is payable on death, has the event occurred?
- Has the policy been assigned to a particular person
Steps in Filing A Claim
Here’s what to do when one has to file a claim:
- Locating the Policy : It is important for people to be organized and keep financial documents where they can be located easily – like a safe or filing cabinet. A spouse, lawyer or other family member has to be kept informed of the location of important papers.
- Calling/Writing To The Company : Every insurance policy will have a phone number listed. Agents are available to help people with the steps they have to take to file a claim. In every case, forms have to be file and these are mailed to the family. Provide essential details like the policy number, name of the insured person, date of death, cause and place of death etc.
- Documentation : It is essential to go through the forms carefully and fill them out properly. A death certificate is necessary to process the claim.
- Choosing Type Of Settlement : The claimant has a choice of whether they want to receive a lump sum settlement or installments. Proceeds can be used to pay off bills and reinvested for the long term.
- Waiting For Settlement : Policy settlements can take time as the insurance company has to verify that the policy is still valid and also if the policyholder has died. Once this is done, the money has to be taken out of investments to settle the claim.
Claimants have to provide the following paperwork:
- Death certificate
- Proof of age
- Deed assignment
- Copy of policy document
- Any other documents requested by the company
In the case of an early death claim, insurance companies usually ask for hospital statements, letters from the doctor stating cause of illness and death, cremation or burial certificate and certificates from employers.
Tips On Filling Out Documents
Make sure to go through the claim forms before starting to fill them out. Keep all the needed documents handy so that filling out information is easy. If there are any doubts, call up the insurance company for help. Remember that if some steps or important information have been missed, the chance of having the claim denied is pretty high. Double checking information is always good.