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How To Make a Death Claim on Your Life Insurance?

Life is an unpredictable journey where no one can know what will happen in the future. This uncertainty is what ignites the strive to ensure that people are secured and protected to be able to face any complications that may arise. This security comes in the form of monetary security.

Often in a family, only one main earner is the financial support for the family. If that person were to pass away tragically, then the family would fall into a financial depression. In such cases, life insurance policies come into play. Offering the beneficiaries of the policy, a death benefit, life insurance plans ensure that the family and loved ones remain protected and have enough monetary support to be independent even after the death of the life insured.

What is an Insurance Claim?

To put it in layman terms, an insurance claim is a formal request to an insurance company for compensation for a loss or event covered by the active insurance policy. After receiving the formal claim request, the insurance company validates the claim request and approves it accordingly. Upon approval, the insurance company makes the required payment to the concerned party on behalf of the insurance policyholder.

There are different types of insurance policies that have different cover options and protection plans. When purchasing one, potential policyholders should compare and contrast different policies and plans to see which one fits their needs and futures requirements. By comparing different plans across different companies, one can find a more comprehensive plan that fits as per their budget.

Similarly, there are different types of claims that can be issued depending on the different types of insurance plans. When it comes to life insurance plans, policyholders can also issue claim requests depending on their needs. As long as the claim request is for an event that is covered by the life insurance, the life insurance claim will be approved, and the appropriate funds will either be transferred to the policyholder or the concerned party on behalf of the policyholder.

Types of Life Insurance Claims

to fulfill the requirements of the insurance seekers, there is an extensive range of life insurance policies available in the market.

  • Maturity Claim
  • Rider Claim
  • Death Claim
  • Early Claims
  • Non-Early Claims
  • Maturity Claim

    Maturity claims are made by the policyholder in their life insurance when the life insured survives until the end of the policy term. This maturity claim is the sum assured by the insurance policy. To receive the maturity claim, the policyholder must provide the life insurance company with the duly signed medical discharge form along with the original policy document. After submission of the necessary forms, the company shall make the payment to the policyholder without any complications.

  • Rider Claim

    Riders are optional add-ons that can be purchased alongside life insurance. These riders help to enhance the overall coverage of the policyholder revives by providing coverage that may not be covered by the original policy. Policyholders can issue a rider claim request if an event occurs, which does not cover the original policy but is covered by the rider.

    After submitting the rider claim issue with the requisite medical documents and the original rider and policy form, the insurer can make the required payment to the third party on behalf of the policyholder. Even if the claim is made for the rider, the sum payable is still taken as a percentage from the final sum assured.

  • Death Claim

    In the event of the death of the life insured, the nominee/ beneficiary, as mentioned in the life insurance policy or the nearest family member of the deceased, must inform the company of the death. The nominee/ family member must provide the company with a death intimation, which contains the cause, place, date of death, and the life insurance policy number. After intimation, the company will present the nominee with a set of claim forms. These death claim forms depend on the policy.

  • Early claims

    When the life insured expires within 2 years from the start of the policy.

  • Non-Early Claims

    When the life insured expires after 2 years of the policy term, the policy has not yet reached its maturity date. Early claims usually take a longer time to settle as the insurance company investigates the death of the life insured to rule out any possibility of foul play.

    Non- early claim takes less time as the likelihood of any foul play is significantly less.

    These claims form the crux of every life insurance policy. As long as all the premiums are paid and are up to date, there will be no complications in settling a claim. Again, this depends on the type of life insurance plan as some plans offer the benefit of wavering all pending premiums if the life insured dies before the policy term's completion.

How to Make a Death Claim on Your Life Insurance?

In the event of the death of the life insured, it is essential to ensure that the life insurance company is informed about the death. Without prior notice, there might be complications in approving the death claim request by the beneficiaries.

That being said, the following are the steps to be followed by the nominee/ beneficiary of the policy to file a death claim on the life insurance:

  • STEP 1: Death Intimation

    As per the policy, the beneficiary must inform the life insurance company about the death of the life insured/ policyholder to begin the process of death claim. The beneficiary must mention the date, place, and cause of death of the life insured and provide an accurate policy number. If there are any riders or add-ons along with the policy, then that also must be mentioned in the death intimation.

  • STEP 2: Receiving Claim Intimation Form

    The life insurance company shall provide the beneficiary with a claim intimation form after alerting the life insurance company about the death of the insured and providing the death intimation.

    This form needs to be duly filled with the required information and duly signed.

  • STEP 3: Documentation

    Attach the required documents that are needed to complete the claim process. The documents must be attached to the claim intimation form and submitted to the life insurance company for proper validation and approval.

  • STEP 4: Wait/Pay-out

    After successfully submitting the required documents along to the filled claim intimation form all that is left is to wait. The life insurance shall inspect the claim form to see whether or not the circumstances of the death of the life insured fall within the claim parameters of the policy. If it does, then the sum assured on death, along with any other bonuses additional will be transferred to the beneficiary as a lump sum or as regular instalments over a specific period as an annuity.

    It is always important to be very familiar with the claim process. This is so that when the time comes, the paperwork can be done smoothly with the least likelihood of error and makes the whole process that much more hassle-free.

Documents Required to Make Death Claim on Your Life insurance

When submitting the claim intimation form, the following documents will need to be submitted along with:

  • Death certificate of the life insured
  • Original policy life insurance document
  • Original rider document (if applicable)
  • Proof of identity of the beneficiary
  • Age proof of the insurer
  • Executed and witnessed discharge from the concerned medical institution
  • Appropriate medical certificate (to authenticate the cause of death)
  • Police FIR (In the event if an unnatural death)
  • Post mortem report of the deceased (in the event of unnatural death)
  • Hospital records and certificate (in the event of death caused due to illness)
  • Certificate of cremation (in the event of an early death)
  • Employer certificate (in case of an early death)

The documents required to file a death claim may vary from company to company. It is always suggested to get in touch with the concerned life insurance company or the dealing life insurance agent and ask for an updated list of what documents are needed to ensure that there is no disparity while filing a death claim.

Exclusions of Life Insurance Death Benefits

The death benefit is the main security which the beneficiaries bank on for financial support. But there are times when death is not covered by the life insurance company even after the death of the life insured. This is a result of the uncanny situation or cause of the death of the life insured. When purchasing a life insurance policy, it is essential to know which insurance plan does not cover death causes.  The following are cases where the life insurance company may not be liable to pay the death benefit:

  • Murder

    Murder can be caused under any circumstances. The insurer is not liable to pay the death benefit in the event of the murder of the life insured in 2 cases:

    • The policyholder is a criminal, and the beneficiaries were involved in a crime of some sort. The benefit may be paid off if the criminal charges are dropped, but that depends on the terms of the policy and the concerned company.
    • The cause of death was due to suspected criminal activity. If the policyholder is suspected of criminal activity, then the insurer is not liable to pay the death benefit.
  • Under the Influence of Alcohol

    If the insured life dies due to being under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic substance that was intentionally ingested, then the death benefit will be declared null and void. Even if these habits are not disclosed during the life insurance policy initiation, and the insured dies due to alcoholism, then the benefit is rendered moot.

  • Non-Disclosure of Smoking Habits

    Life insurance policies have separate terms and conditions for smokers and non-smokers. Non-smokers are generally rewarded with higher benefits for maintaining a healthy lifestyle practice. If the policyholder hides the fact that he or she is a smoker while purchasing the policy, then the company can deny death benefits.

  • Taking Part in Dangerous Activities

    People often take part in adventurous lifestyles. Some people tend to take it one step further and can take part in activities that may result in the loss of their life, if not careful. If the life insured loses his or her life in such an event in which he or she willingly participated, then the life insurance company is not responsible for paying the death benefit to the beneficiaries and nominees, as mentioned in the policy.

  • Pre-Existing Health Condition

    Often, the cause of a person's death is attributed to a medical condition or an illness. This is why a medical record and exam is needed when purchasing a life insurance policy.

    But if the life insured passes away due to succumbing to a health condition that already existed while availing the life insurance policy, then the death claim shall not be settled unless the condition was covered through other optional add-on riders on the original policy.

  • Childbirth

    This clause pertains to women specifically. Pregnancy is an unpredictable circumstance and causes unprecedented risk if not careful. If the life insured is a woman and she was to die due to pregnancy complications or during childbirth, then the life insurance company will not be liable to pay the sum assured.

  • Suicide

    Many life insurance companies have clauses in the life insurance policies that cover death by suicide. But this coverage is usually applicable if the death occurs from the second year of the policy term. That being said, if the life insured commits suicide and dies from it within the first year of the policy, then the death benefit is denied. If the policyholder has shown signs of suicidal tendencies in the past before availing life insurance, then it should be brought to attention to the insurance agent with whom prospective life insurance is being purchased.

  • Natural Disasters

    Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis can cause a lot of damage and take a lot of lives. Yet, if a life insured were to die from any natural disaster, then the nominees mentioned in the policy will no longer be entitled to receiving the death benefit from the death.

  • Self-Inflicted Injuries

    Often, people can be affected by pressure and deteriorating mental health, which can lead them to make decisions that are not in the best of interests for them and their loved ones. People might tend to inflict injuries on themselves. This may not be in the intent of taking one’s life. But if such self-inflicted injuries were to cause the death of a person who is a policyholder of life insurance, then the life insurance company can reject the death benefit claim, and the nominees will not receive the sum assured.

    There are more clauses and conditions which, when occurred, will render a death benefits claim null and void. These clauses vary and depend on the life insurance company and the separate terms and conditions of their different life insurance policies.

    Due to such conditions, it is highly essential to ensure that during the instantiation of the life insurance policy, all possible details should be mentioned to the insurance agents with whom the policyholder is dealing with. This includes habits, past medical records, mental health, and social affiliations that make up most of the potential policyholder’s lifestyle.

FAQs

  • Q: Why are claims rejected?

    Ans: If the death claim is rejected, then it will be on basis one of the following- lack of knowledge, non-disclosure of facts, the disparity in form.
  • Q: When do I file a death claim to the life insurance company?

    Ans: It is suggested to file a death claim issue not long after the death of the life insured. This may seem insensitive towards the deceased, but it is ideal and beneficial for the nominees in the long run, especially if there will be upcoming expenses like funeral costs.
  • Q: How long will it take to settle the death claim?

    Ans: Life insurance companies are bound to settle a death claim within 30 days of receiving all of the necessary information and documents from the beneficiary.
    If there is a discrepancy that may need further investigation, then the company will solve the issue and settle the claim within 6 months from first receiving the claim issue.
  • Q: Is the death benefit applicable to death occurring overseas?

    Ans: Generally, life insurance companies do not cover deaths that occur overseas. For such situations, it is advantageous to get international insurance or travel insurance.
  • Q: How is the death benefit paid?

    Ans: A death benefit can be paid in the following ways:
    • As a single lump-sum amount
    • As an income in the form of an annuity
    • Through a continued interest account from which the beneficiary can access on demand
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