Losing a loved one is difficult and having to deal with the life insurance process can be confusing as well. Life insurance can provide almost immediate cash to cover your most important expenses. You will first have to file a claim before you are able to receive any cash. Here are the steps to filing a life insurance claim:
Try to have your policies in a safe and easy to find location. Find your policy and look for the insurance agent/brokers contact information. Even if you do not have this information, you can contact the insurance company directly and they should be able to find your loved one’s policy if provided with their name and address. This person should also be able to assist you in filling out all necessary documentation.
If you do not know the name of the company that issued the policy and have no information at all related to the claim, write to the Missing Policy Service at the:
American Council of Life Insurance
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20004-2599
Include a self-addressed business size envelope. Your inquiry will be forwarded to nearly 100 large life insurance companies in an effort to locate the lost policy. (A nominal fee will be charged to cover administrative costs.)
The final step in filing the claim is to send a certified copy of your loved one’s death certificate, from the funeral director, with the life insurance claim forms to the life insurance company. It should take anywhere within a few days to a couple of weeks, for your settlement to be issued. You may receive a lump sum or installments, according to your choice or the policy owner’s prior decision. These are some available options:
o Lump sum – You receive the entire death benefit in a single amount.
o Specific income provision – The company pays you both principal and interest on a predetermined schedule.
o Life income option – You receive a guaranteed income for life. The amount of income depends on the death benefit, your gender and your age at the time of the insured’s death.
o Interest income option – The company holds the proceeds and pays you interest on them. The death benefit remains intact and goes to a secondary beneficiary upon your death.
The insurance company will handle the settlement as instructed.