The Truth about Denied Life Insurance Claims
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may be blindsided by a letter from the life insurance company informing you that your claim has been denied. The insurance industry asserts that a very small percentage of life insurance claims are denied, and that may be true. But, that statistic doesn’t help pay your mortgage or put food on the table after a life insurance claim denial.
Unfortunately, many people who receive a denial of benefits notice never take action. Some lack the energy or resources to fight while caring for themselves and their families after losing a spouse, parent or other loved one. Some simply believe that the insurance company knows the law and the policy terms and there’s nothing to be done if the claim was denied.
The good news is that a life insurance claim denial isn’t the last word. And, with the assistance of a lawyer experienced in handling life insurance claim denial cases, you can fight back without investing substantial time or money. In fact, we handle all life insurance claim denial cases on a contingency basis, so you don’t make any payment at all until we recover your benefits for you.
Life Insurance Denials Can Be Wrong
Never assume that a denial letter from a life insurance company means you aren’t entitled to benefits. Sometimes, life insurance companies make mistakes. Sometimes, they choose to interpret information in a way that allows them to deny a claim, though there is more than one possible interpretation. On occasion, they even deny claims they know to be valid.
Many people receive denial notices and simply accept the conclusions contained in them. After all, the insurance company wrote the policy—they should know what is and is not covered. That’s a reasonable conclusion to draw, but it’s a dangerous one. Life insurance companies deny many claims that should be paid, and we have successfully secured payment for many beneficiaries whose claims were denied.
How Life Insurance Companies Deny Claims
Life insurance companies use many different justifications to deny life insurance claims. Some of the most common include:
- Claiming that the insured made a material misrepresentation in his or her application
- Claiming that the cause of death is excluded by the policy terms
- Asserting that the policy was not in force at the time the insured passed away
- Classifying the death as a suicide, although there is no official ruling
Often, these justifications are no more than the opinion of the person charged with investigating the claim. In some cases, the insurance company’s reasoning even distorts the facts in order to justify a denial.
A legal determination as to whether a misstatement was material, whether a death can be ruled a suicide, or even exactly what the policy terms mean may be very different from the conclusion the insurance company arrived at.
Fighting Denial of a Life Insurance Claim
The first step toward fighting a life insurance claim denial is simply to recognize that you don’t have to accept what the insurance company says. You have the right to investigate, review your policy terms and educate yourself about the law to find out whether the insurance company’s decision was just. You also have the right to retain an experienced attorney to explain the law and policy terms to you, to negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
If you’re a parent of children who would benefit from the life insurance proceeds, the personal representative of an estate holding the life insurance policy or the trustee of a trust that owns the policy, those rights listed above are also responsibilities.
Once you’ve decided to challenge the denial of benefits, or to explore whether you have a valid claim against the insurance company, a smart next step is to connect with a lawyer experienced in handling denied life insurance claims.
Connect with an Experienced Life Insurance Claims Attorney
The best attorney to assist you with a denial of life insurance benefits claim is one who has the knowledge and experience necessary to apply pressure to the insurance company, and to successfully litigate your case if the insurance company refuses to pay the claim. Our life insurance attorneys have a solid record of success in life insurance benefits denial cases, and we’d like to find out whether we can help you, too. Just schedule a free consultation to learn more.