Ten Tips To Help Make Sure Your Life Insurance Policy Pays Out

Here are ten ways to help make sure your life insurance gets paid to those you wish after you die:

One. Make sure your statements on your policy application for truthful. Some require that they be absolutely truthful, while others require that they are truthful to the best of your knowledge and belief.

Two. Make sure you properly designate your beneficiary, and contingent beneficiary. This means you should not only clearly state their name, but make sure the percentage allocation of the policy benefits, if any, are accurately calculated.

Three. If your policy lapses for any reason, and is reinstated, you may have restarted a two year contestability period. This means that if you died within two years of the reinstatement, the insurance company may re-review your policy application to look for any material misrepresentations.

Four. Be careful if you made any changes to your policy after it has been in effect for two years or more. Some insurance companies will try to restart the two-year contestability period after you made any changes.

Five. If you do not list a contingent beneficiary on your life insurance application or policy, your estate may get the policy benefit if your designated beneficiary is not living in the time of your death. This is why it is important to have a will to specify what to do with any assets that come into your estate.

Six. If you have a spouse who was the beneficiary on your life insurance policy and you got divorced, you may need to update your life insurance beneficiary designation. If you still intend on having your ex spouse as your life insurance beneficiary, you should send a reaffirmation to the life insurance company to remove any doubt that you still wish that person to be the beneficiary. A recent change in Florida law, as well as the laws in several other states, may deem your ex spouse to have pre-deceased you for purposes of your life insurance beneficiary designation even if your ex spouse is still alive. While there are several exceptions to the law, you should remove any potential doubt by confirming with your life insurance company what your intention is after your divorce.

Seven. Make sure your beneficiaries know who your agent or life insurance company is. There is no global database of life insurance companies so try to make it as easy as possible for your beneficiaries to make a claim after you die. They may not know which company to make a claim against. It is best if you give them a copy of the policy so they have the policy number and insurance information.

Eight. If you do you want to change your beneficiary to your life insurance company, read the policy very clearly to determine how you must do this. Some policies may also fall under an ERISA plan which means there may be additional terms beyond the policy that set forth how you can properly change the beneficiary.

Nine. Make sure your premiums are paid to date and make arrangements with someone you trust to continue paying your premiums in the event you become incapacitated. Even if you’re incapacitated, you may still have to pay your insurance premiums. If you’re in the hospital for an extended period of time, you should not want to risk losing the insurance benefits. Consider having a secondary payor designated on your policy and request that the insurance company send a copy of your bill to that person.

Ten. Most life insurance policies in Florida have a two-year contestability clause. That means that if you die within two years of the policy, the life insurance company may go back through the application for any material misrepresentation in order to deny the claim and refund the premiums. When it has been in effect for two years, the only time the insurance company, in general, can deny the claim is if the premiums were not paid to date. Be careful if the life insurance agent tries to sell you another policy in order to get you to switch companies or change your policy that you currently have. If your policy has already been in effect for two years, you may restart another two-year clock and risk the policy being denied if you die within two years of getting the new policy.

These tips are in no way inclusive of all of the potential life insurance issues that could arise. However, making some of the adjustments mentioned here, or at the very least being aware of some of the dangers, can hopefully help you better protect the beneficiaries you wish to help.

If you have any doubt as to whether your beneficiaries may get the life insurance benefits, or want to make sure that somebody looks out for their interest once you die, feel free to give our information to them so we can try to help them with their life insurance claim. You can reach a Florida life insurance lawyer at the Law Offices of Jason Turchin at 800-337-7755.

Life insurance claim stalled for medical records

It is one of the more common life insurance problems – You are the beneficiary trying to make a claim on a life insurance policy. The insured died within two years of taking out the policy and the claim is within the contestability period. They want medical records on the person who died and won’t evaluate the claim without them. The problem is that you can’t get the medical records. So, what can you do?

Options to obtain medical records on a deceased person in Florida

There are two main ways to get medical records on someone who died in Florida – subpoena and medical authorization. Without one of these, the life insurance company may either deny the claim or stall payment until they obtain the medical records.

Getting medical records with an authorization

In order to get medical records on someone who died in Florida, you generally need to open a probate estate and have someone appointed as the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative then has the authority to obtain medical records on behalf of the estate.

Sometimes this may not be an option or may not be a good option. For example, a beneficiary who is not related to the decedent may have no authority to open an estate.

Obtain a subpoena for medical records

A subpoena is another way of obtaining the insured’s medical records in Florida. To do this, a lawsuit must generally be filed first. Once the discovery phase has started in the lawsuit, the Florida life insurance attorney can issue a subpoena to any medical provider where the insured treated. If you don’t know where the insured treated, the Florida life insurance lawyer can also send a subpoena to family members of the insured and health insurance companies. Depositions of family members can also be taken if necessary to obtain information.

Life insurance claim delay should not be tolerated

While a life insurance company may reasonably investigate, they should not stall without reason. If a life insurance company fails to pay a claim within a certain period of time, they may have to pay interest and possibly attorney’s fees and costs on top of the policy limit.

For more information or assistance, feel free to call our office at 800-337-7755 or contact us online for a free consultation.

When your life insurance company lies to you

They take your premiums, and promise to pay benefits when your loved one dies, but then they don’t. It’s an all too common phone call we get from heart-broken and frustrated beneficiaries who expected to receive life insurance benefits when their loved one passed away.

Unfortunately, life insurance companies often try to figure out any way to not pay the benefits after somebody dies.

The many reasons for life insurance denials

There are several reasons we’ve seen where beneficiaries thought they were entitled to life insurance benefits, but then the insurance company refused to pay. Some of the common life insurance denial claims are:

Material misrepresentation – this is where the life insurance company generally claims that the policy owner or insured lied on the policy application. Even though they easily could have cleared things up while the insured was alive, they instead often choose to do nothing and investigate the insured’s medical history if the person dies within 2 years of the policy’s effective date.

Child who died was not covered – life insurance companies often sell policies to cover both parents and their children. What they don’t always tell you is that children may only be covered to a specific age, and only in specific circumstances, like if they are a full time student. Sometimes, though, an agent or the insurance company may still tell you a child is covered. If you take out a policy and are told your children are covered, then you may still be entitled to benefits even if the policy language says otherwise. The insurance company cannot tell you one thing to have you rely on it to your detriment. That is not fair and often not legal.

General life insurance vs Accidental death and dismemberment – one common type of life insurance claim we see is where a life insurance company denies a claim under an accidental death and dismemberment claim. In order to qualify for coverage, the death must generally be the result of an accident. We had a case where the a woman was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street not at an intersection. The life insurance denied the accidental death claim by stating that she caused her own death by jaywalking. Rather than accept the denial, the beneficiary called our Florida life insurance attorneys for help. We proved the law to the life insurance company that the death was an accident and not intentional, and they paid the entire policy limit within 21 days!

Even if the life insurance company lied to you, you may still be entitled to the insurance proceeds

When a life insurance company fails to pay life insurance benefits, they may be in breach of the life insurance contract. Failure to pay the benefits is often looked at as a breach of contract. However, there are many intricacies of life insurance law that an experienced life insurance attorney can help navigate.

The law of promissory estoppel may entitle you to the insurance proceeds

Life insurance companies cannot lie to you. They cannot misrepresent facts and get you to keep paying life insurance on a policy which they never intended on paying out.

For example, we represented a beneficiary who was told that her son would be covered under the policy. However, after he died, the life insurance company denied the claim and argued that he was not covered under the policy because he was under the age of 25 but not a student. Our life insurance attorneys were able to request copies of the phone calls between the beneficiary and the life insurance company, and were able to prove that they made representations to her which she relied on to her detriment. The life insurance company reversed itself and paid the full benefit to the beneficiary.

For questions on any life insurance claim in Florida, feel free to call our FL life insurance lawyers at 800-337-7755 for a free consultation.