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How do I make a life insurance claim?

Insurance Questions Answered: 

What’s the process for claiming on a life insurance policy taken out by an individual, or provided by their employer?

First things first - there is no need to rush or worry about claiming on a life insurance policy. 99.6% of life insurance claims are paid, and there is no time limit on making a claim. When you feel ready, your insurer can be contacted by phone, by post or online. Before you make a claim however, you will need a copy of the death certificate.

When you do contact the insurer, they will need to know the name of the deceased, the cause of death (which will be on the back of the death certificate), and their policy number. You will also be asked to state your relationship to the deceased.

Many insurers now allow you to begin the claims process online through their website.

You should note that while anyone can start a claim on a life insurance policy, this doesn’t necessarily make you eligible for a pay-out. Policy beneficiaries will be specifically stated by the policy or named in the deceased will.

It is important to note that up to 60% of people in the UK die without making a will. If no will has been made and no beneficiary named, then a Court will need to agree the beneficiary for the claim to be paid. This may cause some delays in processing the claim. It’s important to seek legal advice in this circumstance.

What if their life insurance policy was through their employer?

If a person dies while still employed, they may have a ‘death in service’ benefit. This is a life insurance policy taken out by an employer on behalf of an employee and will pay a defined sum of money to the beneficiaries named by the employee. To claim on this policy, you will need to tell the employer that their employee has died. The beneficiaries of this employee benefit will be whoever is named on the employees ‘expression of wish’ form which will be held by the employer.

What documents do I need to claim a life insurance policy?

To make a claim, you will need:

  • The death certificate – this can be gotten from the funeral director.  It may be useful to obtain several copies
  • The claim form – this will come from the insurance company or can be found online
  • The policy document – this will have been supplied by the insurer at the time of the policy purchase

What if I can’t find the life insurance policy document?

It’s not unusual for life insurance policy documents to get lost following a death. If you’re not sure who the life insurance policy was with, check the deceased bank statements to see if there were any regular payments made to an insurance company.

Please note that sometimes insurance companies can change their names or merge over time. Our tracker can help you find out who you need to contact to discuss your policy. 

Can you claim on a life insurance policy before death?

No, however some life insurance policies may also offer terminal illness benefit, which allows for the sum of money insured to be paid out to an individual early if they have been given a terminal diagnosis. This money can then be used to cover care costs if the policy holder is unable to look after themselves

Some life policies may have an investment component which means that your premiums are invested during the lifetime of the policy. This builds up a cash value which you may be able to withdraw or borrow against.

Early payments are not a standard feature of life insurance and are entirely dependent on your individual policy conditions. To find out what your options are, check the policy documents or speak to your insurer.

When will the life insurance policy pay out?

Usually life insurance claims will be paid quickly, with payment times generally averaging within one month, though some policies can be paid out within a matter of days. Delays can be caused if there is a documentation issue, or if the cause of death needs to be investigated. However, 99.6% of life insurance policies are paid out, so even if you do experience a delay your policy is still likely to be paid.  

Find out more about life insurance here.

Last updated 31/10/2018