Don’t Let Delayed Life Insurance Claims Derail Your Benefits
Delayed life insurance claims are a common tactic used by life insurance providers who want to delay and perhaps even deny having to pay out the value of the policy to the beneficiary or beneficiaries. There are several reasons a life insurer may give you for why a claim is delayed, but they not be the entire reason. If they are planning to eventually turn it into a denied life insurance claim, the time to get a life insurance attorney is beforethe policy is denied. It will take longer to dispute a claim that is denied; instead, get ahead of the game as soon as you hear the word, “Delayed.”
If you contact one of our life insurance attorneys before your claim has been denied, we can usually work with the insurance company to see that the beneficiary’s funds are released in two to three weeks. Once a claim has been denied, however, several legal steps have to be taken and an extensive legal brief will need to be sent to the company, where their own lawyers will read it, pick it apart, write a response and send it back. This could take a month or more just to get through the first phase.
Why and How Do Insurance Companies Delay Life Insurance Claims?
The insurance companies only make money when they are getting plenty of premiums but not paying out a lot of claims. Delayed life insurance claims are simply a technique for them to stall you while they decide what to do. They may request a copy of the death certificate more than once. They could send you a long list of questions you’ll need to answer or ask for additional information that wasn’t included in the policy application. Many insurance companies will also ask to retrieve the deceased individual’s medical records. Since they can easily get these records without any work on your part, they are asking so that you have to take the time to do it, pushing back the pay-off date. If they ask for one set of records from you, then ask you for more or different records a month later, they are deliberately delaying the pay-out date, putting you in a possible financial bind.
The hope of some insurance companies is that the beneficiaries will become frustrated and give up on claiming what is rightfully theirs. Working with a life insurance attorney who is familiar with delayed life insurance claims is your secret weapon – your attorney will deal with the life insurance representative so that you can focus on grieving and helping your family adjust to life without their loved one.
How Long Should It Take for a Life Insurance Claim to be Paid?
In most situations, a life insurance claim should be paid within one or two weeks after the insurer has received the death certificate. If it’s been longer than two weeks and the life insurance company has asked for additional information, don’t spend your time sending them more and more paperwork. Call an attorney and let them handle the situation. In most days, the beneficiaries will receive their claim within a few days. This is because the insurance company knows that an attorney sees through their delaying tactics and they do not want to have to go to court. A court battle is expensive and use up resources the insurance provider doesn’t want to spend. They would rather pay up and forget their losses.
Are There Valid Reasons for Delayed Life Insurance Claims?
Yes, there are sometimes good reasons for an insurer to delay paying on a claim. Usually this occurs when there is some question about the validity of the policy. When the policy holder filled out the application, they might have lied or misrepresented themselves. Or they may have discovered that the individual had developed a medical condition but never turned in the new information to them. These exclusions are difficult to prove, however, and in some cases, they are irrelevant to why the individual died. Another reason for delays is if the insured and the beneficiary are divorced and there are rival claimants. The insurer may also try to delay a payout because they want to explore any potential problems due to community property laws or if the beneficiary is a minor.
Exclusions that could have an impact on delayed life insurance claims include:
- Unreported, chronic illness
- Sickness outlined as exclusionary in the policy
- Death from self-inflicted injuries
- Death due to felony acts
Regardless of whether a delayed life insurance claim is dragging on because the insurance company is using delaying tactics or because they have genuine concerns, our life insurance attorneys can help get things back on track and get the beneficiaries what they deserve far more quickly than they could do on their own. Even more importantly, they can keep a delayed claim from turning into a denied one.