Aftermath / Credits And Insurance / File a Life Insurance Claim

File a Life Insurance Claim

If the deceased has a Life Insurance policy, then Beneficiaries should file a claim to receive their benefits. This should be done relatively soon after the death because payment may take time to receive.

Though the Executor of the Estate or Administrator will typically handle legal and administrative tasks for the Estate, a Beneficiary of a Life Insurance policy should handle claims because they may be the only person listed on the policy.

This is because Life Insurance does not go through Probate, the legal process that governs how an Estate is settled. For more information, review the Probate checklist in the Estate section.

To receive benefits, the following steps are typically taken:

  • Gather insurance documents to review the policy and understand benefits and the process to receive them

  • Check if additional policies were held; more benefits could possibly be available (accidental, social security, dismemberment, travel, etc)

  • Contact the insurance company and request claim forms; these are usually available on their website (see links below)

  • File a claim with the insurance company and choose how benefits are to be received

In order to file the claim, the following documents are typically needed:

  • Death Certificate -- a proof of death is required in order to prevent fraud

  • Policy Documentation -- these documents will contain information about the policy the deceased held; typically, these are kept in a safe deposit box, secure location in the home or in a safe; if the deceased was working at the time of death, their employer may have this information

  • Claim Form -- the insurance company will provide these documents in order for Beneficiaries to officially request benefits; typically it will ask for a policy number, the relationship between the Beneficiary and deceased, cause of death, and payment details

If policy details are difficult to find, or if more information is needed before submitting the claim, contact the agent who sold the policy; they can help as a liason to the insurance company.

Note: if more than one Beneficiary is named on the policy, each person may need to submit their own claim form, but speak with the insurance provider first to confirm.

Typically, benefit payments can be received in the following ways:

  • Lump Sum -- insurance provides the entire death benefit at once (not subject to taxation)

  • Annuity -- insurance provider invests the benefit owed and payments are given to the Beneficiary annually along with any additional interest gained (subject to taxation)

See below for links to common Life Insurance companies claim forms to begin this process.