The Basics of Life Insurance Benefits

When a loved one dies, the thought of filing a claim for life insurance may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, it’s a relatively simple process and there are qualified people who can help you if you need it.

Life Insurance BenefitsThe Four Easy Steps to Obtain Life Insurance Benefits

1) Find the policy or proof of its existence

The first step you need to take is to find the actual life insurance policy with the best burial insurance rate.  If you can’t find the policy itself, look for any records that provide the name of the life insurance company or agent.

Look for proof of a life insurance policy by reviewing:

  • Receipts for payment
  • Correspondence from an insurance company
  • Insurance company statements
  • Entries of a life insurance company in your loved one’s checkbook or credit card payments
  • Your loved one’s safe deposit box

2) Call the company or agent

Once you’ve located or identified the policy, or the appropriate insurance company, contact either the agent who sold your loved one the policy, if known, or the company itself, and notify them of your loved ones death.  If you don’t have the policy, but know the name of the company, the life insurance company should be able to locate the policy in their records for you.

3) Fill out the forms

The life insurance company will want you to fill out some claim forms in order to pay out the proceeds of the life insurance policy. If you need help with this process, either your life insurance agent or company should provide you with all the assistance you need.

4) Send in the claim forms

Once you’ve properly completed the necessary paperwork, you will send it back to the life insurance company with a copy of the death certificate and any other documentation they may require.  From there it should only take a relatively short time frame before the named beneficiary on the life insurance policy will receive the funds.

Legal Concerns — Are you receiving everything you are entitled to from the life insurance company?

If you have any concern that you are not receiving all of the life insurance benefits that you are entitled to, contact an attorney promptly to review your life insurance contracts and related documents and to advise you as to your entitlement. Do not accept any benefits before your lawyer has reviewed this material.

Also, some life insurance provides for additional benefits if your loved one’s death was due to an accident. You would be wise to have an attorney review your life insurance contracts for this type of “accidental death” provision.

Types of Distribution Option For Life Insurance Proceeds

In some cases, you may have a choice on how you desire to receive life insurance proceeds.

  • Lump Sum.  You may be able to receive the life insurance proceeds in a one-time lump sum payment.
  • Income Provision. Some life insurance policies have a specified income provision. This means that you will receive payments that will include principal and interest, on a schedule that is predetermined in the life insurance policy.
  • Life Income.  Many life insurance policies have a life income pay out. This means that you will receive a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. However, it should be noted that the amount you receive will be based on your gender and age at the time your loved one dies.
  • Interest Income. With this option, the life insurance company holds the actual death proceeds and pays you interest on that amount. The actual death benefit amount will be given to a second beneficiary when you die.


Filing a claim for life insurance death benefits is not a difficult or lengthy process in most cases. If you are unsure how to file your claim, or you can’t locate a life insurance policy, or you are concerned about whether you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to, you may want to contact a qualified attorney to advise you.

For nearly 25 years, Jon Ostroff has been representing the estates of over 100 children and adults who have died across Pennsylvania as a result of someone else’s negligence. Jon will spend the time and money it takes to figure out what happened to your loved one. If unable to recover money for your loved one’s estate, Jon will pay these costs.

Jon Ostroff’s ability to find the evidence that wins cases has earned him his distinguished reputation across Pennsylvania as a wrongful death attorney.