Life Insurance 101

How to Manage a Claim in a Time of Loss

As the beneficiary, you’ll need to file a claim on the life insurance policy of your loved one. Learn what steps you need to take.

Losing a loved one is always difficult. And if you’re the beneficiary of his or her life insurance policy, you may need help understanding how to file a life insurance claim.

Find out what you need to know with the help of these steps.

Find the insurance company

The first step in filing a claim is to contact the company holding the insurance policy. If you have the policy number available before starting the claims process, the insurer can look up the policy information for you once they have verified that you are the correct beneficiary. If you can’t locate the policy number, the insurance company may require some information, such as the policyholder’s and your social security number and date of birth.

If you’re uncertain whether your loved one had a life insurance policy or what company the coverage was with, you can contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website and file a claim with the “Lost Policy Finder.” This tool is used to assist individuals in locating life insurance policies and annuity contracts of a deceased family member. Also, if you have authorization, you can check your loved ones credit card or checking account statements to see if payments were made to a particular insurer or review his or her mail and email to see if billing or policy information has been sent.

Get copies of the death certificate

A death certificate is an official document that confirms the date, time, location and cause of death. To process a claim, insurance companies will need a certified copy of the death certificate along with claims paperwork. There are three ways to obtain a death certificate:1

  1. Order a certified copy from the state in which the person died from your state’s Vital Statistics Office
  2. Order a certified copy from a third-party company
  3. Ask the funeral home to get a certified copy for you

Fill out the claim forms

Once you’ve notified the insurance company that provided the life insurance policy, you’ll need to fill out some forms. They usually include questions about the policyholder, your relationship and how the claim is to be paid out. A life insurance company claims representative can help you to fill out the forms correctly.

Understand the payout options

A claim can be paid out in several ways. The most common is a lump sum payment in which you receive the entire amount at once. However, you may also be able to select from the following options:2

  • A specific income provision, to receive both the payment and interest on a set schedule
  • A life income option, to receive payments for the rest of your life
  • An interest income option, in which the company pays you interest to hold your funds

Since your decision will depend on your financial situation, you may want to consult a trusted financial professional.

When are benefits paid?

It depends on the circumstances of the death, but typically the claim can be paid within a few weeks of the insurance company’s receipt of all of the required information.

When making a claim with Amica Life, you can be assured that Amica’s long-standing tradition of providing first-class customer service will continue to shine through. The representative you work with will handle your claim with empathy and care, helping to provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.

If you’re interested in learning more about life insurance policies for you and your family, take a look at our Shopping for Life Insurance guide to learn about the different options Amica Life offers.

1 State-by-State Death Certificate Ordering Information,” Everplans, 2017.
2 Life Insurance Policies: How Payouts Work, Investopedia, 2016.
ALIC27718 (exp. 4/19)

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