What happens when you need to claim on a life insurance policy?

What happens when you need to claim on a life insurance policy?

If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, then you’re most likely going to be feeling all sorts of emotions.  Perhaps it’s just a feeling of numbness, or maybe you’re even angry.  These are all perfectly normal feelings when someone passes away.

If they had life insurance it’s most likely going to be to cover funeral costs or to protect you, so if you suspect you are the beneficiary but don’t have a lot of additional details, this blog is for you.

First of all, you need to contact the life insurance provider.  This will be within any paperwork that you have.  Once you’ve contacted them you need to tell them that you need to make a claim.

Before you can claim you will need to make sure you have the following:

A death certificate – You can get certified copies from the funeral director.  Note that several copies might be needed, especially if there is more than one policy to claim on.

A claim form – This is usually provided by the insurance provider and in some cases can be submitted online.  Each insurer is different so be sure to check this when you make first contact with the insurer.

The policy – You will need the certificate of insurance which would have been provided at the point the policy was taken out.

The insurer will want original copies of the documentation required so if this is the case, it’s best to opt for registered post to make sure they don’t go missing.

If you can’t find the certificate?

Many certificates of insurance are lost, most often because policies have been taken out some time ago.

If you can’t find the policy document and if you are not certain which insurer the policy belongs to, then if you contact the Association of British Insurers you should be able to get help.


In many cases, unless a policy has been put into trust then the sum assured will become part of the deceased’s estate.  What this means is that the funds will be subject to the rules of probate.   This is a legal requirement that follows when someone dies and its purpose is to confirm any executor’s authority to manage an estate properly.

This can sometimes be a problem – especially if the funds are required for a funeral for example, which is why many people ensure their policies are written into trust.  This means the money is not included in the probate and therefore the funds are available more quickly.

If you are a policy holder and you want to discuss having your policy written into trust, then it’s a good idea to speak to an independent financial adviser.


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