Anyone can start a claim. This does not make you entitled to the payout though, unless the policy names you as a beneficiary.
Usually those closest to the deceased deal with any financial matters. If there are no family members and you are a close friend you could start the claim on their behalf.
To start the claim, find out which company holds the life insurance policy, then call them.
Look for life insurance paperwork, but if you cannot find any you could still look for direct debits from old current account statements.
If you can find a monthly payment going out each month, check if the company is a life insurer. If so, call them to confirm the policy exists and start the claim.
Life insurance companies do not outline a timescale, so you can start a claim after a few weeks or more if you need the time to grieve.
When you call to make a claim, the insurer will have trained staff to deal with your situation sympathetically, making it easier to start a claim soon after the death.
Most insurance companies will ask for the following:
The insurer will send out a claim form for you to complete, and a list of all documents they need you to send them to process the claim, e.g. a copy of the death certificate.
However, if the life insurance policy was in joint names, or the spouse/civil partner of the deceased is still alive, they will get the payout.
The money usually goes into the deceased person's estate.
If there is no will, the estate usually passes to the spouse or civil partner.
If there is a will, it will specify who gets what from the deceased person's estate.
Ask the insurer why, but the most common reasons for rejected claims are:
If you think the insurer rejected your claim unfairly, contact the Financial Ombudsman who may be able to help.