How to make a claim on life insurance

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Cancelling & claiming on insurance payments made by a loved one who has died

At the best of times, cancelling or making claims on an insurance policy is an inconvenience, albeit a minor one, and hardly an enjoyable undertaking. When you’re in the midst of grieving and adjusting to life after the death of a loved one, it can feel like a mammoth task and prove overwhelming.

Having previously addressed how to deal with money worries following the death of a loved one, in this article we’ve produced a detailed guide to cancelling/claiming on insurance payments made by a dead friend or relative. In particular, it covers the following:

  • Life insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Home/Buildings/content insurance
  • Travel insurance

Making a life insurance claim

First of all, prioritise contacting your loved one’s life insurance company regarding a pay-out. It might help ease any money worries you have. If you can’t locate the life insurance policy details, try not to worry. If you at least know the name of the company, you can call them to explain the situation. Attempt to share any details with them that you can. Alternatively, if you’re completely in the dark about the name of your loved one’s life insurance company, the Association of British Insurers can help shed some light on this.

In order to make a claim, the insurance company will ask for a completed claims form (which they provide you with) and the original death certificate documenting cause of death. Send these documents by registered post or recorded delivery and, if you have it, enclose the policy document too.

Provided your loved one offered an honest account of their medical history/lifestyle and you fill out the claims form correctly, making a life insurance claim can be a relatively smooth and quick process. Don’t hesitate to contact the insurer if you have any doubts about the claims form. This will avoid any delays, caused by an incorrect form, in receiving your claim. Typically, pay-outs can be made in a matter of days and no more than a few weeks. Also, the insurer must stop taking premiums on the policy and repay any paid since the date of death.

Who
receives the life insurance pay-out, and how much, is a much more complex matter. Whether or not the life insurance policy was written in trust, whether or not your loved one had a will, intestacy, inheritance tax are all factors that come into play. For further information on this, this MoneySuperMarket resource is extremely helpful.

Car Insurance death of policy holder

Most car insurance policies terminate on the death of the main policy holder. If you’re a named driver on your loved one’s car insurance, you will need to check with the insurance company whether you’re still covered. If it transpires that you’re no longer insured, you are not obliged to stay with the car insurance company in question. Either way, in the process of informing the car insurance company of your loved one’s death, they will require an official death certificate and potentially a probate from/executor of estate documents.

Home Insurance after death of policy holder

Inform your home insurance provider of your recent change in circumstances. Depending on how your loved one’s estate gets distributed following their death, and how much you have inherited, will impact on the extent of your cover and how much you pay for your home insurance. Again, ensure you have any relevant documents with you to hand when contacting the home insurance company.

Travel insurance that covers death of a family member

Usually, if a family member died abroad and they had travel insurance, depending on their policy, this tends to cover the return of their remains to the UK plus funeral costs. Contact their travel insurance company ASAP. Usually, the travel insurance company will contact funeral directors on your behalf and make arrangements.

Alternatively, you can often claim on your travel insurance if you are the person who is travelling and a family member back in the UK has died. Indeed, a death in the family will clearly mean cancelling or interrupting your travel plans. However, there are exceptions to this. Usually, claims can only be made against a ‘covered’ family member. Some travel insurance policies might cover the death of an in-law while others might not. Contact your travel insurance company as soon as possible to discover next steps and the necessary documentation you will need to produce.

We hope the above has been useful for you when it comes to cancelling or claiming on your loved one’s insurance payments after death. Discover more information below about how to organise or close the following, associated accounts when someone has died:

The above is for your guidance only. Your relationship to the person who has died, i.e. whether you are married or not or made joint insurance payments, might impact on whether the above advice is applicable to you. You should always seek legal advice following the death of someone close to you.