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How to make a life insurance claim in the event of a death

Dealing with a death is immensely stressful, and it doesn’t help that it tends to come with a large amount of administration.

However, Confused.com hopes to make things a little easier by explaining what needs to be done, and how to do it.

Tackling the paperwork can seem like a daunting task in times of bereavement.

Insurance providers are sympathetic to this so making a life insurance claim is typically a quick and uncomplicated process.

And the whole point of life insurance – of course – is to take pressure off in the event of a death.

Contacting the life insurance firm

First of all, you should make the life insurance provider aware of your intent to make a claim.

Details of how to contact the provider will be provided with the policy document and also on their website.

You should find a telephone number, a postal address, and increasingly, many firms provide an online claim form.

Before you can claim on a life insurance policy, you will need the following:

  • Death certificate: you can obtain certified copies of the death certificate from the funeral director. Several copies may be required, especially if you have more than one life insurance policy.
  • Claim form: this will be provided by the insurance provider, or can be submitted online, as mentioned above.
  • The policy document itself: your certificate of insurance will also have been supplied by the insurance provider at the time of purchase.

Your insurance provider will need original copies of the required documentation.

For this reason, it’s best to send them by recorded or registered post, to ensure they don’t go missing.

What if you can’t find the life insurance certificate?

It’s not uncommon for certificates to become lost, particularly as policies tend to be taken out over a long term, and we all know that sometimes paperwork gets lost in the mix.

If you cannot find the policy document and are unsure of the policyholder’s insurer, then the Association of British Insurers (ABI) should be able to help..

At very least, if they cannot locate the policy – and hence the insurance providers you need to contact – they can advise you of what to do next.

How to speed up receipt of a payment

In general, the payment of the sum assured will become part of the deceased’s estate.

If this is the case then the proceeds will be subject to the rules of probate.

This is a legal process which follows a death, and its purpose is to confirm an executor’s authority to deal with an estate.

What this means is that the life insurance payment will be distributed following the execution of the will.

Allowing a life insurance payment to be dealt with in this way can occasionally prove problematic.

Even if the life insurance payment is made quickly – which it typically is – going through probate itself can take a long time.

And in cases of intestacy (where there is no will), it can take a lot longer still.

But sometimes the money could prove useful straight away, for example if the survivors might otherwise have trouble covering funeral costs.

If you are a policyholder or are considering taking out a life policy and you think your family would really benefit from getting money straight away in the event of your death, consider writing your life insurance policy in trust.

Your insurance provider should facilitate this for free, and the proceeds will not be subject to probate when it comes to a claim.

All the intended recipient will have to provide in this instance is the death certificate.

This is well worth considering, as a death is stressful enough for dependants, without having to also worry about where money might be coming from.

Yet, according to insurer Aegon, only 6 per cent of life insurance policies in the UK are written in trust.

This will not be appropriate for all life insurance policies, but it is certainly worth investigating.