How to claim on a life insurance policy

Losing someone is heart breaking, but they may have a life insurance policy in place to give financial support to family or friends. Here is how to deal with their life insurance claim.

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Who can claim?

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.

How to find out if they had a life insurance policy

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.

Is there a time limit?

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.

What do you need to claim?

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.

    Who gets the payout?

    This depends:

      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.

      Who gets the payout if the beneficiary is also deceased?

      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.

      What if the insurer rejects your claim?

      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.