Understand And Access Your Policy
First of all, you need to double check the exact type of policy you are collecting on and have access to the paper policy and all pertinent information like whether premiums were all paid up, and when the policy (if a term life policy) expires/expired.
You can only file a claim on term life if the policy was still in effect on your loved one’s death date. Whole life, on the other hand, has no time limit for the death benefit but if a loan was out on the policy at the time of death, that could diminish your claim somewhat.
If you are dealing with a work-based policy, you might need to contact the deceased’s employer to access the policy and important information.
And as death benefits are often collected decades after you took the policy out, it’s even possible the insurance company will have moved or changed contact information, so you may need to call the Florida Insurance Commission to get the updated data.
Obtaining A Certified Death Certificate
You can call your insurer right away if you wish, but you really can’t actually file for your claim until you have obtained a certified death certificate. And it’s best to get several copies so you can keep one and hand in one or more to the life insurance company or other entities that may require one.
The funeral director will likely fill out the death certificate, so ask him/her about getting certified copies (often you can get as many as 10 copies free.) And also realize that, depending on the cause of death, it can take up to 3 months before the death certificate is finalized.
But you can order death certificates directly from the state as well if your funeral director isn’t handling it.
Filing With Your Insurance Agency
Contact your insurer, and an agent will help you to get all the necessary paperwork prepared. You will need to fill out a claim form, very carefully following all instructions.
And you will need to produce the certified copy of the death certificate with the claim form, plus any other attachments that are requested.
Some companies allow you to fill out your claim form online, but others will require a hard copy be submitted.
Also realize that if your loved one suffered from a violent death, a police investigation may have to be completed first.
Deciding On How To Receive Payment
Depending on your insurer and the stipulations of your particular life insurance policy, you may have some options on how to receive the death benefit.
You may be able to receive it all at once in a single, lump sum amount. Or, you could receive it with interest on a payment schedule.
You may also be able to receive interest only and wait until your death for the principal to go to another beneficiary.
Be sure to understand how your method of claim-collection will affect the policy’s tax benefits.
To learn more about how life insurance claims work, feel free to contact Flagler County Insurance Agency today!