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How to Appeal a Life Insurance Claim Denial

By on March 22, 2014 in Insurance, Life Insurance

How to Appeal a Life Insurance Claim DenialThere’s nothing worse than thinking you did the right thing for your family and it end up not working out. Getting a term life insurance policy protects your family, but only in the event that they can file a claim on your life. Sometimes for various reasons the life insurance company can deny the claim.

A denied life insurance claim means that your family won’t benefit from the policy you’ve been paying for all of these years. You thought you had $1 million of coverage, but when your family files the claim they are told they will get nothing.

Not only is it an emotional time for your family, but they were likely relying on that income to get them through the difficult time transitioning to life without you. Without that life insurance check they may not be able to pay the mortgage, for your burial costs, or just keep up with the monthly bills.

It can be financially devastating.

Appealing a Life Insurance Claim Denial

Thankfully every life insurance company has a claims appeal process. Here’s how to appeal the denial and get your family the money they deserve.

Why are Life Insurance Claims Denied?

Remember how that life insurance policy had pages of fine print? Sometimes that fine print catches up. A life insurance claim might be denied because the death of the individual was a result of something the policy did not cover. Example of this include suicide or dying in war.

A claim might also be denied because the policy wasn’t paid in full.

How to Fight a Life Insurance Claim Denial

Here are four steps you can take to fight a denied life insurance claim.

Contact the Life Insurance Company

Despite the emotions running through you and the turmoil of losing a loved one, you can’t sit back and wait if your life insurance claim is denied. You need to move quickly as most life insurance policies have a stated time limit on when a denial can be disputed.

You should reach out to the company immediately on the phone and begin working through the appeal process. Finding out why the claim was denied is key to learning how you can fight the appeal.

Gather Documentation

Having the appropriate documentation will help you fight the denial. If the company is claiming the policy was not paid in full you will need financial documentation stating otherwise. Finding policy statements, check images, or bank statements showing withdrawals on time that kept the policy in force will be key in fighting that claim.

Likewise having a death certificate and any law enforcement documentation as to the cause of death can help you fight the validity of the claim. If the insurance company says it was suicide but the police repot shows it was an accident that can be used to fight the denial.

Submit Claim in a Timely Manner

It is critical that you submit your appeal claim and any assorted documentation within the claim window. A life insurance company might give you 90 days to fight the claim. If you wait until the 120th day to appeal you may be out of luck. You will want to keep copies of all documentation and submit them how the company dictates. That might mean sending the information via certified mail or through an online system.

Track Your Claim and Follow Up

Once your claim is submitted you need to stay on top of the company to track the progress of your claim. Don’t send it in and assume everything will be fine. You need to reach out every few days to check in on the progress of the appeal, especially as you get closer to the end of the appeal window. Some companies may grant an extension of the appeal window if you request it. Whatever you do, don’t sit back because mail can get lost and paperwork misplaced; all of this can lead to a legitimate appeal being denied due to the appeal window closing.

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