Experiencing the death of a loved one can be difficult enough without having to deal with the added stress of filing for a death benefits claim through the life insurance company. Unfortunately, many families find that they need to go through the often-complicated claims process in order to receive death benefits to cover funeral costs, burial expenses, and other related costs.
What can make matters exponentially worse is when a life insurance claim is either delayed or denied following submission. By understanding how the claims process works and what your options are for disputing a denial, you'll be in better shape to handle such an occurrence.
Understanding the Claims Process
First of all, it's important to understand the possible outcomes when a life insurance claim is submitted by a beneficiary. Typically, one of three things will happen.
Ideally, the claim will be approved and pay out any funds within 30 days from the date the claim was received by the company. If a claim isn't immediately approved because additional documentation is required, it is considered to be delayed. Unfortunately, delays can last for several months or frequently even years; it really depends on what the reason for the delay is and who is responsible for correcting it.
A worst-case scenario would be an instance where the life insurance claim is outright denied by the insurance company. This essentially means that the claim is not going to be paid out. Some denial letters will include the specific reasoning for the denial, whereas others may be vague.
When to Hire a Life Insurance Attorney
If you have recently had a life insurance claim either delayed or denied altogether, it's in your best interest to consult with a life insurance lawyer as soon as possible. Specifically, be sure to work with an attorney who has at least 15 years of experience handling life insurance appeals so you can rest assured that he will be well versed in the complex laws that come into play.
In the case of a claim delay, having a life insurance attorney will help to speed up the often-complicated legal process so you can have your claim approved sooner rather than later. In the case of an outright denial, a life insurance attorney will assist in the process of appealing the insurance company's decision.
The Life Insurance Lawyer's Role
When you hire a life insurance attorney to assist you with your life insurance claim delay or denial, you can make the entire process much easier on yourself and your loved ones. For instance, your life insurance attorney will be able to handle the claim denial investigation, collecting any necessary documentation, and submitting a 100-200 page life insurance appeal brief.
Have you had a life insurance claim denied or delayed? If so, speak with a life insurance attorney today. From there, you can explore your options and make a well informed decision regarding which next steps you should take.