Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Life Insurance PolicyIn principle, collecting on a life insurance policy is simple, you provide the death certificate to the insurance company and you get a check. While in essence, this is true, there is more involved to it than that.

Reading this article will give you a better idea of what to expect when you want to collect on a life insurance policy and hopefully will make things easier during this tough time of your life.

If you are still looking around to find the best life insurance at the cheapest price then be sure to use our free quote shopping tool above. Just enter your zip code and start comparing free insurance quotes!

Needed Paperwork to Collect on a Life Insurance Policy

In order to make a claim on a life insurance policy, you are going to have to focus on the paperwork. The first thing that you are going to need is the life insurance policy. Hopefully the deceased was very clear about where you can locate this information. If not, start by going through the mail, important papers (hopefully there is a box or filing cabinet somewhere) and the banking information.

If you can’t find the policy, but you know for a fact that there is a policy and what insurance company holds the policy, simply call them, inform them of the policyholders death and request a copy of the life insurance policy.

The next step will be to get an official copy of the death certificate. The insurance company won’t take a photocopy, it must be a state sealed copy of the death certificate. They will then check the case number in the state system to ensure that the policyholder is actually dead and that there is no attempt at fraud being made. Make sure to keep a copy of anything you send to insurance company in case there are any complications later.

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Insurance Adjusters and Life Insurance Collection

It would be nice if the insurance company could simply take the medical examiner’s report at face value and pay your claim based on that report. In most situations, however, the insurance company conducts their own investigation, especially when there are large amounts of money at stake.

As the beneficiary, you can expect an insurance adjuster to come to you with some questions. While this may seem terrible and invasive, you need to not take it personally. This isn’t about you, but about the hundreds of thousands of people who commit fraud every year; the insurance companies lose billions of dollars a year because of fraud, so it is understandable that they are cautious.

At this point, it is important that you be very cooperative. This isn’t going to happen the day after the death of the person you love, but their death will still be relatively new. The insurance company may view any belligerent answers as your refusal to cooperate, which could delay the processing of your claim. Also, answer their questions as honestly as possible as this will bring a faster resolution to this process.

Once they are done investigating and you have answered all of their questions, it should take about 10 days for you to get an answer regarding the claim. Keep in contact with the insurance company during this time so that you know where they are in the process.

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Sometimes Life Insurance Claims Aren’t Paid

Insurance companies have very strict rules about paying insurance claims, even life insurance claims. The policyholder has to follow the rules or it is the beneficiary that will end up suffering.

Lying on the insurance policy application is the number one reason for claims not being paid. The most commonly answer lie is about whether or not the policyholder smokes or does drugs. If, during the investigation, it is determine that the policyholder was a smoker and claimed that they weren’t or they were on drugs, the claim won’t be paid. In addition, most life insurance policies have a suicide clause. If the deceased killed him or herself, then the insurance company can legally refuse to pay on the claim.

There are many regulations that vary from company to company. For example, if you were once a racecar driver there could be a clause in your policy saying if you die in an auto race, the policy is void. This is just an example, but it is proof that understanding the policy is just as important as having one in the first place.

The insurance company can also refuse to pay the claim if there is any suspicion that the beneficiary was the cause of death. There is a law that no person can financially benefit from causing the death of another person. Unfortunately, even if you aren’t responsible, if the police consider you a suspect, the insurance company can refuse to pay the claim until the issue is resolved.

Before you get upset, you should know that in the majority of cases, the insurance company pays the claim. If they don’t and you know they are in the wrong, then you may have to speak to an attorney.

If an insurance company won’t pay, it isn’t a matter for the police; instead you are going to have to sue them in civil court. While it may seem illegal to you, the insurance company is only bound by law once it is proven that they are in the wrong and it is up to you to make your case. In some cases, if you hire an attorney, the insurance company will settle with you out of court, it really depend on how solid they think their case is. Hopefully things won’t get to this point, but if they do, make sure you have every piece of paper, every question, and every part of the investigation documented.

As you can imagine, answering the questions on a life insurance application is pretty important. A lie can make the policy worthless and the money paid in is lost. If your situation changes, for example you are a smoker who stops smoking or vice versa, contact the insurance company so that they can make the changes. This ensures that there is never an issue when it comes to your life insurance policy being paid.

Finding the Best Life Insurance Policy

If you are in the market for life insurance but you haven’t made a decision about what kind to purchase or where to buy from, then it is time for you to use a free quote tool.

Located at the top of the page and the bottom of the page, the free quote tool will direct you to a series of questions about your life, your age, occupation and, of course, how much life insurance you want to purchase. You will then get life insurance quotes based on the information that you provide. You can view term and whole life options and see for yourself what company has the best premiums.

Enter your zip to start now!