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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Term Life Insurance & Whole Life Insurance Discussion

How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby matherson » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:43 pm

If a person dies, how long do the beneficiaries have to claim their payment?
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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby maurizio » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:44 pm

As long as the coverage was active @ the time of death, there is no time limit for the beneficaries to file a claim. However, it would behoove the beneficiaries to file a claim asap since no doubt the proceeds would be needed to help cover the insured's final expenses, including but not limited to the funeral. Now a beneficiary who is a minor would not collect their portion immediately; it would be placed in trust until he/she attains age 21. If there is a prolonged delay in filing a claim (say 10 years after the death), there would be more burden of proof on the beneficiaries' part in proving the coverage was active - may need to provide an actual copy of the policy as someone else said. A lot could happen in 10 years' time - the company could change ownership, agents & claims adjusters change jobs, company could move, records could be archieved - even, heaven forbid, lost or misplaced. Finally, some companies pay the beneficiaries a small amount of interest when cutting the checks - but the clock doesn't start ticking on that until the claim is filed and only covers the period from when the claim is filed to the date the checks are cut.
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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby shan31 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:51 pm

They don't expire. There's no "claim by" date. As long as the policy was active at the date of death, the insurance company is obligated to pay.

Now, the longer you wait to claim, the harder it potentially is to track down the company responsible for paying the claim. For example, a company operating 40 years ago might have changed names and telephone numbers a half dozen times. Also, they might not have a copy of the old policy, if someone stopped paying for it 30 years ago - you would need to provide a copy of that policy.

In most cases, the insurance company has no way of knowing that someone is deceased. They don't, for example, do a search every month of every insured person to see if they died. They usually find out about the death, when a claim is filed. If someone DOES die and no beneficiary can be located, the money is paid to the ESTATE of the deceased - it doesn't go into unclaimed property funds. The estate of the deceased, however, CAN go into unclaimed property.
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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby johannes » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:55 pm

I got a letter about 2 weeks ago from a life insurance company. Apparently they periodically check the Social Security Death Index. They sent me a letter telling me that my ex-husband, who passed away in January 2007, left a life insurance policy and I am the primary beneficiary. The death certificate is on it's way from another State and I will be filing a claim for the benefits this week. I was shocked when I received the letter. Not only has my name changed since I am remarried, but I live in a different state than where we lived when we were married. I seriously had no clue that the life insurance policy that was part of his benefits package still existed since he was no longer working for that company when he died. He never change the beneficiary when we got divorced. He worked for the company for more than 10 years, and I would have thought once he and the company parted ways, the policy would terminate. At this point I have no idea how much the policy is for, the company will not disclose the amount until I send in the claim form and death certificate.
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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby loughlin » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:04 pm

After a certain amount of years if the insurance company can not find the beneficiary the insurance company sends the money to the state's controller or treasurer. So, you can check with them to see if they are holding the money for you.
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How long after death are life insurance policies payable?

Postby crosby » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:22 pm

After a certain amount of years if the insurance company can not find the beneficiary the insurance company sends the money to the state's controller or treasurer. So, you can check with them to see if they are holding the money for you.
Forever. Someone has to contact the insurance company. From the date of death, they will pay a teeny tiny bit of interest.
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