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How do I Collect on Life Insurance?

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008

The worst has happened, and your husband, wife, parents, or other individual is gone. It is the duty of their beneficiary to contact the insurance company in order to collect the life insurance that is due. This is why it is vitally important to make sure that your beneficiaries know who they are.

If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, then the first step is to find out what company to contact. You do this by looking for a copy of the policy in the home of the deceased, or in his or her other important papers (a safety deposit box, perhaps). If you cannot find the documents that you need, then you will have to wait for a bill or an automatic payment to be taken out of the checking account, and make contact with the insurance company.

Turn the death certificate over to the life insurance agency. Most agencies will pay out in anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on whether there is suspicion of fraud. In most cases, you will quickly have the money that you need to finance the funeral arrangements and take care of matters very quickly.

What if the policy has lapsed?
If the policy has lapsed, then you might be in for a rough ride. If, however, the policy lapsed because of the death of the insured, then the date on the death certificate will help you collect from the company without any fuss. If the deceased had simply stopped paying on the policy, it might be possible to collect a reduced amount of the value of the policy in some cases, but in others you are immediately out of luck.

What if it has been a long time since the deceased passed away?
It has been twenty years, and you just ran across a dusty paper in the bottom of a drawer. It is a life insurance policy that your late husband had taken out on himself that you never knew about. Does that mean that it is too late to collect? The answer is no. In some cases, the insurance company, upon hearing of the death, will have turned over the funds to another agency, mostly government, to monitor. If this is the case, then they will let you know where to go. There is no statute of limitations of collection of insurance benefits.

The company went under. Can I still get my money?
Unfortunately, the answer is no in this case. If a company has declared bankruptcy, then they are protected from people seeking to cash in on life insurance policies that they financed originally. This is sad and unfair, but it is law.

There are sometimes difficult circumstances surrounding insurance policies and collection upon the death of the insured, but for the most part collections happen smoothly and with very little hassle. If your loved one has passed on, the insurance companies do not want to make your life any harder in this difficult time.

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