The specifics of how a life insurance policy will be paid to beneficiaries after the policyholder’s death will vary depending on the details of the policy. However, the following provides a basic overview of what can normally be expected when recovering benefits under a life insurance policy.
Deciding between using the monies from life insurance and wrongful death can be confusing for distraught loved ones after death. Contact a wrongful death attorney in Warminster to help you figure out how to allocate funds so that you have enough money to pay comfortably needs like funeral expenses and lost income.
Filing a Claim with the Life Insurance Company
Benefits under a life insurance policy are paid upon the death of the policyholder. Typically, a beneficiary must file a claim with the life insurance policy after the policyholder’s death, along with a copy of the policyholder’s death certificate. The insurance company will then review the claim.
The beneficiary’s name will be listed on the policy. In the event that the primary beneficiary is no longer living, the insurance benefits will be paid to the second beneficiary listed. If there is no second beneficiary listed, then the payout will be made to the estate.
How Benefits are Paid
The benefit amount that an insurance company will pay in the event of death should be viewable on the policy.
However, some events impact the exact payout amount.
- Type of policy: universal vs. whole vs. term
- Any loans a person has taken out against a policy while alive, this is known as an accelerated death benefit
- Adjustments for age
The claim will typically be reviewed for an approximate time of 30 days, after which time the claim will be paid. While there is no set time frame for when a claim must be paid, it is rare for the insurer to take more than 60 days to pay. Not all benefits will be paid in a lump sum payment, although this is the norm.
Instead, depending upon the details of the policy, payments may be made in installments or annuities, and may be even be paid pre-death in the event that the policyholder is faced with a terminal illness or is in critical condition. Once paid, the beneficiary can use the benefits for whatever he or she sees fit.
Paying for Medical and Death Expenses
In the event that the policyholder incurred large medical expenses prior to death, or if payments to a funeral home or cemetery need to be made, proceeds from the life insurance policy and be transferred directly to another party to make payments.
However, in the event that the policyholder suffered a wrongful death, life insurance compensation doesn’t have to be used for medical bills and burial expenses; rather, a wrongful death claim can help to recover economic damages to cover those costs.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
A person can recover benefits from a life insurance policy and a wrongful death claim for benefits simultaneously. In the latter, an action must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased. The deceased’s death must have been caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence of another.
Those who are allowed, under Pennsylvania law, to bring forth a wrongful death claim are the following people related to the deceased.
A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years’ time after the death of the deceased occurs and wrongful death benefits are distributed usually only to those mentioned in the previous list.
If it can be proven that the defendant wrongfully or negligently caused the deceased’s death, then the beneficiaries can recover damages to pay for the following.
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Burial/funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
How can I learn more about life insurance and wrongful death claims?
Life insurance policies aren’t always paid in a timely manner, and a life insurance company may look for loopholes in the policy to pay you less than you really deserve. To learn more about how to recover your life insurance benefits, call the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC. To schedule your first appointment with us today, dial 215-642-2335