How do I know if I’m a beneficiary?

Beneficiaries will need to file a death claim to receive the payout. You should talk to your loved ones to find out if you’re named as a beneficiary. If you know in advance, it can help limit confusion when a claim needs to be made.

What do I need to know to file a claim?

To be best equipped for the death benefit claims process, ask for: the policyholder’s full name, the insurer’s name, the policy number, the insurer’s contact information for death benefit claims, and if possible, a copy of the policy.

What happens if all my beneficiaries die before me?

If there isn’t a named beneficiary who can claim the life insurance proceeds, the death benefit would go to your estate. When the death benefit goes to an estate, it can take a lot longer for your loved ones to receive the money because it must go through probate. It might also be subject to estate taxes or debt collection. You should always list a contingent beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries and update your policy whenever there is a big life event.

Will my claim get denied?

Insurance companies usually pay out claims, but in rare cases, a claim will be denied. When that happens, the insurer will typically reimburse the premiums paid to the beneficiary or the deceased’s estate, but the death benefit will not be paid.

Contestability period

Most life insurance policies have a contestability period. This usually lasts two years from when the policy goes into effect and it protects the insurance company from misrepresentation. It allows the insurer to verify the information provided to them during the application process is true and wasn’t misrepresented in favor of the policyholder. Any misrepresentation on the application breaks the contract. After the contestability period ends, the insurer can no longer contest.

Most claims will be paid within one or two months, but it may take longer if any investigation is needed, for instance if the insured is believed to have misrepresented information on their application.

Suicide clause

Insurance policies have a suicide clause that says that a death benefit will not be paid out if the insured commits suicide within the first two years of purchasing the policy. After 2 years, this clause no longer applies.


If the policyholder was killed, the insurance company will wait until any beneficiaries are cleared of foul play before paying the death benefit.

After the claim has been filed

After you contact the insurance company and submit the necessary documents, you’ll wait for the claim to be processed.  Once it’s processed, you can choose how you want to receive the money. A lump sum payment or annuity payments are the most common.


The Bottom Line

Filing a life insurance claim isn’t complicated, but it’s important to know these special considerations.



Disability insurance policies provide meaningful coverage, but your policy will not cover every single case of disability. When you apply for a policy, there may be specific limitations or exclusions. Insurance carriers do this to reduce risk. This will protect them from paying a claim from injury or illness due to high-risk conditions or activities.


As part of your application process, the insurance company will have you complete an application, phone interview, and medical exam. You’ll answer personal and lifestyle questions and give details about your medical history. It most likely will include a blood and urine sample and a collection of height, weight, blood pressure and pulse. The insurance company’s underwriter will review the results from your phone interview, exam, and medical records.

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Your loved one needs an increased level of care either due to a physical or cognitive impairment AND they have a long-term care insurance policy. How do you file a claim? First, locate the policy or any records of premium payments. Then call the agent or insurance company listed on the documents to see if the policy is still in-force. If it is, find out all the specifics of their coverage, including how you trigger the policy and start receiving benefits.

Typically, to start receiving benefits, the policyholder must need help with at least 2 activities of daily living or help due to a cognitive impairment. Once you have a physical or cognitive trigger, your need of care must be expected to last more than 90 days and a Plan of Care must be established. After you’ve fulfilled your Elimination Period (waiting period), you’ll start to receive benefits.

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Washington State passed a new law mandating public long-term care (LTC) benefits for Washington residents. It’s the first public program in the U.S. that will be funded by employee wages (payroll deduction). The WA Long-Term Care Trust Act was created to reduce pressure on the Medicaid system. This program may be appropriate for Washington State residents with average income and/or health conditions that prohibit them from obtaining private coverage. However, it may not be in your best interest.

Under current law, you can opt-out of this tax by having a long-term care insurance (LTCi) policy in place by November 1st, 2021.

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If you have a life insurance policy, it’s important for you to talk to your loved ones about it’s details. If it’s still in-force at the time of your death, your beneficiaries can submit a claim with the appropriate documents.

There isn’t a time limit on how long you have to file a life insurance claim and the process is quite simple.

Steps Needed to Submit a Claim

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If you can’t work, how will you pay your bills and plan for retirement? Disability insurance is protection for your paycheck.

Which insurance company do you choose?

There are a variety of factors that determine the quality of a disability insurance company and policy and which one is the best fit for you.

1. AM Best and Better Business Bureau Ratings

The AM Best rating shows the company’s financial strength and the BBB rating shows the company’s customer service strength. If the company has good ratings in both places, it’s off to a good start.

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Your aging or ill loved one is requiring an increased level of care either at home or in a facility. You suspect they have a long-term care insurance policy, but now what?

First, start by looking for their policy or any records of premium payments. If you find evidence of a long-term care insurance policy, call the agent or insurance company listed on the documents to see if the policy is still in-force. If it is, find out all the specifics of their coverage.

Ask the agent or insurance company the following 10 questions:

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The cost of an individual disability policy can vary greatly depending on your age, health, gender, occupation, benefit period, benefit amount, waiting period, and policy riders. A general rule is that it will cost between 1 and 3% of your annual salary.

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Disability insurance protects your income when you can’t work due to illness or injury. Many people will try to rely on workers’ compensation or government benefits programs for protection, but the reality is that workers’ compensation is limited to work-related injuries and Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is difficult to qualify for. The best way to protect your income is with a disability insurance policy and there are 2 types – short-term and long-term.

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You didn’t pay your life insurance premium. Oops! You changed banks and forgot to update the insurance company or you forgot to send in the check or maybe you just didn’t have sufficient funds in your account. Whatever the case, most life policies have a grace period, typically around 30 days, which allows your policy to stay in force temporarily and gives you a little extra time if you need to make a late payment. You’ll need to resume payments before the end of the grace period to avoid ending your coverage.

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