Settle a Life Insurance Claim

My dad recently passed away and left me a sizable life insurance policy. What do I have to do in order to collect this payout?

Sarah in Nevada, 39

Start by figuring out the exact cash value of your dad’s life insurance policy. Know the exact death benefit payout. If he has passed away naturally, there should be no squabble and the insurance company will pay out the benefit in a timely manner. If foul play or a suicide is suspected, there may be a long investigation and payments will be delayed.

Some life insurance policies have a cash value, and there’s a chance that a loan or loans may have been taken out against it. Clear that issue up as soon as you can. If the policy was originally purchased long ago, there’s a good chance that another company now owns and/or administrates it, so try to get to the bottom of that, too.

In order to process the claim, it’s best if you can provide the insurance company with the original policy. If you don’t have that, at least give them the policy number so they can look it up. Next, you’ll need the original death certificate as well as when the policy was taken out. Try to get in touch with the agent who sold the policy to your father. If that’s not possible, it’s still important to contact someone at the company directly so you have a person on the inside who can help you through the process.

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