You’ve chosen your life insurance policy. You’ve selected your plots. You’ve talked to your children about the eventually of your death. But how do you know they’ll get the money you’ve saved up for them? Every year hundreds of life insurance claims are rejected because the claimants did not properly file the necessary information. So, let’s talk about how we can avoid that situation.
Three Basic Steps – Life Insurance Policy
The three basic steps in filing a life insurance claim are notification, claim processing and resolution. However, while these three steps may seem like a snap of the fingers, they take more work and follow-up than many people understand.
What is a notification? – Life Insurance Policy
When someone dies, a family member of the deceased must file a notification of death with the insurance company. This is the first step in filing a claim for benefits. In a notification of death, you must provide the following information:
- Full name of the insured party
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Cause of death
- State of residence
- Policy number or numbers
- Name of person reporting the claim/relationship to the deceased
- Daytime and evening phone numbers
It is also helpful to have a copy of the insurance claim(s) as well as a copy of the death certificate, since some insurance companies may require you to have these documents for dispersal of benefits.
What if I cannot find my loved one’s policy?
If for some reason, you cannot find a copy of your loved one’s life insurance policy and do not know who issued it, you can contact the Missing Policy Service at the American Council of Life Insurance in Washington, D.C. They will make every effort to help you locate the lost policy.
Important things to remember
While any member of the deceased’ s family may file a claim for death benefits, the issuing Agent will only contact the beneficiary listed in the Life Insurance Policy on file with the insurance company.
What is Claims Processing?
After the notification of death is received, the issuing Agent will contact the beneficiary of the policy to gather any necessary forms, e.g. W-9, estate information, death certificate, etc. They may request additional information about the death of your loved one and can provide you with the status of the claim.
What is a Resolution?
A resolution is made once the policy and all of the required documentation has been received and reviewed. At this point, payment will be made to the beneficiary of the policy with regards to any terms, exclusions and conditions included in the actual policy.
Remember, it is important to provide complete and accurate information to the insurance company in the event of a death. If you provide false information, not only will not receive your benefits but you may also be cited for insurance fraud and could face jail time.
How Can I Save Money on Life Insurance?
Did you know that the cost of your life insurance policy can vary based on your current health and lifestyle? Buying the wrong benefits for even the lowest premiums not only wastes your money but also puts you and your heirs at risk. With your heirs involved, it becomes even more important to follow these 7 simple steps to keep your life insurance…lively.
Know what you need — Knowing exactly what and how much you need allows you the ability to shop for and compare specific quotes. The biggest mistake most people make is buying too much of the wrong life insurance.
Consider all of your options — Many options are available when seeking life insurance, including:
- Term Life Insurance: — insurance bought for a specific time period, e.g. 15 years
- Whole Life Insurance: — insurance covering the span of a person’s entire life, including natural death
- Variable Life Insurance: — insurance allocated to investments; cash reserve dependent on success of investments
- Annuities: — an annuity is an agreement or contract for a life insurance company, charity or trust to pay a person (you) a series of payments over time.
If you need more life insurance once you’ve purchased your policy, you should consider a Rider Policy—an amendment to your existing policy that increases the number of benefits.
- Buy as soon as you can — Insurance premiums go up with age because you are more susceptible to illness and injury. It is best to purchase your first policy as soon as financially feasible. There is always the option of obtaining a Rider Policy later, if necessary.
- Beware of fractional premiums — Typically you pay premiums once per year, per quarter or per month. Most people choose quarterly or monthly payments because they are more economically attractive. However, many companies charge fees in order to facilitate smaller, more frequent payments.
- Focus on financially sound companies — Nowadays, everyone’s Aunt Sally sells life insurance. Limit your search to companies with high ratings from independent research agencies.
- Take care of yourself — Find out what insurance rate class you fit into, then make any changes necessary to lower that rate. Exercise, eat right, and don’t smoke or participate in risky activities like cliff diving. Qualification for lower premiums requires an evaluation of your lifestyle as well as a health exam.
- Shop around — Make use of the internet. Not only can it provide you with an outlook on what to expect in terms of available policies and premiums, but it can also offer you the opportunity to research each of the companies and policies you are interested in. Shopping around helps you to decide which agent is right for, which policy is right for you and how much insurance you can really afford, without getting ripped off.
Remember, although you may want to reduce the cost of your life insurance, it is important to maintain full coverage that meets both your immediate and long-term financial goals.