Beneficiaries of life insurance plans should ideally have all of the information they need to file a claim. Unfortunately, this is not always the case: in the United States, more than a Millions in Life Insurance Goes Unclaimed Every Year because beneficiaries are unaware they are included on a policy or cannot locate required documents.
The Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act, passed by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators in 2011, standardized procedures for unclaimed policies and required insurers to check the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File database on a regular basis to identify deceased policyholders and their beneficiaries.
However, it is not a flawless technique, and millions of dollars in benefits skip unpaid each year. Fortunately, there are various ways to determine whether you are awarded life insurance payouts.
How to file a life insurance claim
If you discover you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you’re going to have to file a claim to receive your payment. You’ll need several copies of the person’s death certificate. You can get them through the vital records office of the state where the person died.
You can either work with an insurance agent to contact the insurer or do it directly yourself. In addition to the death certificate, you will probably need to provide identification and details about yourself to complete the claim form before you submit it online or through the mail.
You’ll also need to choose how you want to receive your benefits — in most cases, either as a lump sum or as an annuity paid out regularly from an invested account.
There’s no deadline to file a life insurance claim but the faster you file, the sooner you’ll get a payout. In most states, insurers have up to 30 days to review a claim and send payment.