Sounds simple enough. Life insurance pays benefits to the beneficiary listed on the life insurance policy when the policyholder dies. But the payments are not issued automatically and life insurance companies are not informed immediately when their policyholders pass on. Just like in auto insurance or property insurance, you have to file a claim if you want to collect any benefits.
The life insurance paperwork
As a beneficiary, if you need to collect the benefits of a life insurance policy, filling out paperwork is probably the last thing on your mind. Life insurance companies and life insurance brokers try to make the process as easy as possible, however there are certain pieces of information and documents that are required to make the claim.
You will need to provide to the life insurance company or life insurance broker:
- An original, or certified copy of the policyholder's death certificate
- Proof of identity as the beneficiary
- A familiarity with the policy so that you are aware of your payment choices
Usually the life insurance claim process is very quick. You complete a proof of death form and attach the death certificate. If there is more than one beneficiary for the life insurance policy, you will each need to fill out your own forms as part of the same claim.
You should usually expect to receive your benefits within the week. Life insurance claims are usually paid quickly. One of the only things that can really hold up a life insurance claim is if the death certificate is a copy or is not valid.