Life insurance benefits are not paid automatically. Beneficiaries of a life insurance policy must file a claim in order to receive any money. Often, this is as simple as contacting their insurance agent and the deceased’s employer and filling out some paperwork. Beneficiaries will also need to provide each insurance company with a certified copy of the death certificate.
Take advantage of the below resources to assist you and your clients with filing a claim on an existing life insurance policy:
- When a Loved One Dies
- Client Planning Organizer
- Duties and Responsibilities of Trustees
- ABA: Arkansas Handbook for Personal Representatives
- ABA: Arkansas Senior Citizens’ & Caregivers Handbook
- Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity
- Prudential Claims Help Center
- Spousal Continuance
- Important Information for Beneficiaries of IRA Contracts
- Financial Information Guide for Beneficiaries
- Inherited Distribution Option
Policy Locator Services
Assistance Finding Lost Life Insurance Policies
Life insurance policyholders may fail to inform the beneficiary of a policy’s existence. However, because some beneficiaries are unaware of their entitlement to the death benefit proceeds, they may fail to claim them. Insurance companies are bound to identify and pay the proper beneficiaries under their policies, and they may only do so when claims are made.
- Check the decedent’s personal papers and address books looking for listings of insurance agents, lawyers, estate planners, and financial advisors.
- Check safety deposit boxes for an insurance policy or related papers.
- Check with current or former employers for group life coverage or other life insurance policies purchased through work. Check with a spouse’s current or former employer to determine whether spousal coverage may apply.
- Check the decedent’s bank accounts/canceled checks for premium or policy loan interest payments to an insurance company.
- Review the decedent’s income tax returns for any distributions from de-mutualized life insurance companies.
- Check the decedent’s mail for at least one year following their passing for any premium notices, dividend notices, policy status notices, and statements that are mailed generally around policy anniversaries or tax time.
- Check with any fraternal organizations, associations, professional membership groups, unions, and other such entities to which the decedent belonged that may make life insurance available to their members.
- Check with the decedent’s homeowner’s and auto insurance agent to see if they also may have sold life insurance to the decedent.
- Consumers have many options when searching for life insurance policies for deceased family members, including state treasurer and national unclaimed property searches; insurance company Lost Policy Finders; state insurance department Policy Locators; and private, fee-based services.