There are many reasons that beneficiaries of a life insurance policy may delay claiming death benefits after an insured loved one passes away. Aside from the grief and sadness associated with losing a loved one, many circumstances may make it difficult for beneficiaries to make their claims. But what happens if a beneficiary takes “too long” to make their claim for life insurance death benefits? Can the beneficiary’s claim be rightfully denied? Our life insurance lawyers fight all delayed life insurance claims and denied life insurance claims and win.
When a loved one that is insured by a life insurance policy passes away, there are many reasons why their claims on the life insurance policy may be delayed. For example, the beneficiaries may not even know that they are beneficiaries. An ex-spouse or a distant relative that the insured designated as a beneficiary on their life insurance policy may not have any idea that they are a beneficiary. Whether or not a beneficiary knows they are designated as a beneficiary has no bearing on whether or not they are entitled to a share of the death benefit.
Another example is that the designated beneficiaries know that they are beneficiaries, but they may not know where to locate the policy. It may take the beneficiaries time to find and understand the life insurance policy. The beneficiaries may also need to take time to determine whether the insured’s life insurance policy premiums have been timely and consistently paid so that the policy has not lapsed.
Or, yet another example, the beneficiaries may not know which insurance company issued their loved one’s life insurance policy. This situation will require the beneficiaries to do some investigation to discover where the death benefits may come from. The beneficiaries may have to look through mail, checkbooks, or bank account statements to see if they can determine where the insured had life insurance policies. Or, the beneficiaries may need to go to the insured’s employer to find additional information about any life insurance policy the insured may have had through their employer.
Technically, there is no time for filing a claim on the death benefits associated with a life insurance policy. However, life insurance policies usually include a provision or paragraph dictating a timeframe for when beneficiaries must file their claim. Unfortunately, life insurance companies may still deny a claim if it was not filed within the period defined in the life insurance policy. While this may be true, if the beneficiaries’ delay in filing their claim was due in part to a situation like those discussed above, the beneficiaries may still be able to file their claim for the death benefits.
When a loved one passes away, potential life insurance policy beneficiaries may be delayed in filing their claims for the death benefits associated with the life insurance policy. Beneficiaries are not only dealing with the emotions associated with their loved one’s passing, but they are also trying to figure out their recently deceased loved ones’ affairs. Additionally, beneficiaries may not even know that the insured designated them as beneficiaries on the life insurance policy, or the beneficiaries may not know which life insurance company holds the policy to which they are beneficiaries. While there is technically no time limit to file a claim on death benefits from an insured’s life insurance policy, the policy may contain a timeframe that the life insurance company expects beneficiaries to file their claims. If the beneficiaries do not file their claims within that period defined in the life insurance policy, the life insurance company may deny the beneficiaries' claims. It is important that beneficiaries understand the possibility of a timeframe for filing a claim with the life insurance company and that the beneficiaries understand that it is important to provide details as to why it may have taken a long time for them to file their claims. Providing details about the delays may assist in avoiding a claim denial.
People plan for their eventual death by purchasing a life insurance policy so that when they die they can financially take care of their family and other beneficiaries. The whole point of a life insurance policy is for the beneficiaries of the life insurance policy to receive a benefit when the insured passes away. For this to happen, the insured has to name beneficiaries on the life insurance policy. Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan.
We will fight the insurance company and win.