The death of a loved one can put the family under financial stress. While coping with the loss, the last thing you need is to worry about whether you will be paid the death benefits or if they will be paid on time. A life insurance claim that has been delayed may put a beneficiary under financial strain and cause stress to an already grieving family member.
Our lawyers can assist you when your claim is being wrongfully delayed by an insurance company. To help you understand the life insurance payout timeline, in this article, our life insurance attorneys explain how long it takes to get a life insurance check and what you can do to expedite a delayed claim.
Life Insurance Payout Time: How Quickly Will You Receive the Death Benefits
Usually, life insurance benefits are paid after the insured’s death, and after the beneficiary filed a claim with the insurer and submitted a copy of the death certificate and all other necessary documents.
How soon the benefits will be paid depends on how fast you submit claim paperwork, laws governing the claim, and the insurance company’s processing time. Unless your claim is contested, in the majority of cases, insurers must pay claims within 30 to 60 days after they receive all the documents that they have requested. This means that the faster you submit the claim, the sooner you receive the payout.
When a claim is delayed, the insurance company must pay high interest on the claim amount. This prompts most insurers to pay the life insurance death benefits on time. However, many claims are still unfairly delayed.
What Can Cause Payout Delays
When a life insurance claim is not paid within 30 to 60 days from the date you submitted all the necessary documents to the insurance company, your claim may be considered delayed. While insurance companies are incentivized to pay claims promptly, there are still a variety of reasons they apply to delay a claim. Here are the most common ones:
The claim is filed during the two-year contestability period
Most policies contain a two-year contestability clause. If the death occurred within the first two years of the policy issue date, the life insurance company is allowed to investigate the claim to ensure no misrepresentations were made on the application for life insurance. They have the right to review the original application and the insured’s medical records to determine whether the insured provided false or incomplete information. If the insured person did not disclose material information on the application, the company might delay or deny paying the claim based on material misrepresentation. Investigating such claims may take up to a year or even longer.
If the policy has been in effect for two or more years, it is highly likely that insurers will not investigate the claim, and will pay the claim faster if there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the insured’s death.
The insured committed suicide
Most life insurance policies include a suicide clause that allows companies to deny the payout for a suicidal death. If death occurs during the contestability period, and the insurer suspects suicide, it may further investigate the issue. This process may take several months and result in a claim payout delay.
Our lawyers explain in greater detail what such cases entail in our blog post about whether life insurance covers suicidal death.
Death is a result of a murder
Payment may also be delayed when the death certificate lists homicide as the cause of death. In such cases, life insurance companies will contact the case detective to determine whether the beneficiary is a suspect. If the beneficiary is a suspect, the company has the right to delay the payout until charges are dropped or until the beneficiary is acquitted of the crime.
Learn more about how such situations are handled from our article on whether life insurance pays if the insured is murdered.
Incomplete documentation or information
The most common reason for claim delays is not having all the documents in order. You need to make sure you fill out the paperwork correctly, provide a certified copy of the death certificate, and have all the documents the life insurance company requires to consider your claim.
The life insurance company has a backlog
Sometimes insurers may have a claim backlog due to staff shortages or a busy schedule. This can delay processing your claim by a few days. However, if you suspect that your claim is delayed for unfair reasons, you should contact a life insurance attorney to protect your rights.
Our attorneys know how claims are reviewed and what information the insurance company needs to pay your claim fast. They have successfully handled hundreds of life insurance claims for beneficiaries. Here are some delayed claim cases that were resolved in the favor of the beneficiary:
- We have helped a client whose fiancé (the insured) died during the contestability period;
- We recovered the benefits for a claim that was delayed claim due to beneficiary designation;
- We collected $500,000 for a claim delayed because the insured died in a foreign country.
If you need assistance with a delayed claim, call (888) 510-2212 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
How to Get Your Life Insurance Claim Paid Fast
The life insurance company should be contacted as soon as possible after the insured’s death. The claims representative will contact the beneficiary asking for several documents. Chances are that insurance companies will pay faster if all the documents are in order.
In order to expedite the claim payout, those documents must be produced quickly. The beneficiary must have a certified copy of the death certificate. A claim delay often happens when an insurer cannot get a copy of the death certificate from the beneficiary.
A certified copy of the death certificate may be obtained in the county where the insured died or in the hospital/nursing home where the insured passed away.
Besides a certified copy of the death certificate, life insurance companies also require a completed claim form and the original policy. Depending on the circumstances in which the death occurred, they may also ask for other supporting documents such as a police report if the death was a result of a homicide or accident, a toxicology report, a coroner’s report or an autopsy report.
Read our guide to learn more about the documents that you need to submit a life insurance claim and the right steps you should take to make sure your claim is processed correctly and you collect your life insurance money fast. To make sure you will have the claim paid as fast as possible, you should gather all the documents the insurance company requires when you first submit the claim. You should also have in mind there is a certain deadline to adhere to. You can learn more from our article about how long do you have to claim life insurance death benefits.
Our Life Insurance Attorneys Can Help Expedite Delayed Claim Payouts
Life insurance benefits should be paid promptly. Consult with a lawyer who handles life insurance matters, an attorney who will understand the financial difficulties you are going through after a loved one’s death. We are here to help advise you of the best course of action, from submitting a claim correctly to appealing a delayed or denied claim and filing a lawsuit.
We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. There is no legal fee unless you win and receive your life insurance payout. If you or someone you know has issues with a delayed life insurance claim, call us at (888) 510-2212 for a free consultation.