Claiming life insurance or annuity death benefits

Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult life events an individual ever has to face. Understanding what is necessary to file a claim can help ease your burden and streamline the process so you can focus on what matters most.

Your insurer can pay life insurance and annuity claims more quickly when it can:

  • Verify the death of the insured via a certified death certificate with cause and manner of death
  • Validate that the policy is active at time of death
  • Verify that the claimant is entitled to benefits
REQUIRED INFORMATION

Your life insurance agent can help you file your life insurance or annuity claim with the appropriate documentation. Use the insurance company’s specific claim form, but most insurance companies will require:

  • Policy number
  • Insured’s name, address, Social Security number and date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Cause of death
  • Medical provider’s names and addresses (for contestable claims)
  • Tax withholding information, if applicable (for annuities)
  • Current mailing or email address for the beneficiary (claimant)

You will need a certified death certificate stating the cause and manner of death. Funeral homes often can obtain copies of the death certificate for you. You will be asked to return the policy; if it is lost, there is usually a place to note this on the claim form.

Your agent can also help you review your existing policies to determine if changes are needed due to the death of your loved one.

CONTESTABLE CLAIMS

If the claim is contestable – in most states claims that occur within two years after policy issue or reinstatement – you also may need a statement from the agent who wrote the policy, a statement completed by the insured’s primary physician, authorization for release of necessary information, or medical records or other information requested by the insurance company’s claim department.

FOLLOW-UP

When you submit your claim, ask your agent or insurance company when to expect a follow-up contact and when a payment is expected. The Cincinnati Life Insurance Company follows up at least every 30 days for any outstanding requirements and strives to pay all claims as soon as possible after receipt of all necessary documents and approval of the claim. Cincinnati can pay claims by check, EFT, Benefit Access Account (where available) or use of one of the settlement options in the policy. Your insurance company’s payment options may vary.

You may be able to request payment directly to a funeral home, cemetery or other party. Ask your agent or insurance company whether an assignment of proceeds form is necessary.

CONTINGENT BENEFICIARIES AND MINORS

If the primary beneficiary dies before the insured, benefits are paid to the contingent beneficiary. If no beneficiary survives the insured, the benefits are payable to the estate of the insured; the estate’s court-appointed representative may need to provide additional documentation. If there is no estate, the family may wish to contact an attorney or the county probate court to obtain information about small-estate administration. Additional advice may also be helpful if the named beneficiary is a minor.

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