File a life insurance claim

Immediately After a Death

Life insurance is an insurance policy that will pay a lump sum of money to Beneficiaries after the death of the policy holder.

This money is known as a Death Benefit and is typically given to the Surviving Family following the death of a loved one.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant File a life insurance claim soon after a death, because payments may take time to process and funds may be needed soon. In order to file the claim, the following documents are typically needed:

  • Death Certificate - will provide proof of death and prevent fraud
  • Policy Documentation - will contain information about the policy the deceased held. It may be found in a safe deposit box or in a secure location in the home like a safe. If the deceased was working at the time of death, their employer may have this information
  • Claim Form - this will be provided by the insurance company and beneficiaries will need to complete it in order to officially request benefits. Most likely it will ask for a policy number, the relationship between the beneficiary and deceased, cause of death, and payment details

Find a link to your claim form from the list of insurance companies below.

Helpful Tips


Life Insurance Policy Claim Instructions


Typically, life insurance payments transfer to a beneficiary based upon the rules of the policy.

If the life insurance policy is owned by the deceased, family members can contact the life insurance company to transfer proceeds outside of Probate.

However, if the deceased’s policy was owned by a Trust or the Estate, speak with a Probate Attorney for additional help.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know In some cases, a person’s employer will maintain a life insurance policy on the employee, known as a “key person policy," or with a business partner in what is known as a “buy-sell policy.”

These benefits are intended to support the employer and usually do not have family beneficiaries listed on the policy. They are rarer than a group employee policy, or a private policy where the employee has the right to name their own beneficiary.

Regardless of the policy type, contact the insurance and request claim forms, or submit the claims through their website. Find links to common insurance provider claim submission websites in the links above.

AutumnIcons_Providers.svgProviders It's best to speak with a Probate Attorney if you find yourself in the following circumstances, as claiming benefits may become more complicated:

  • If the policy has no beneficiaries listed
  • If the beneficiary has passed away before the deceased
  • If the life insurance policy wasn’t updated following a divorce

Personal Considerations


Did the deceased have life insurance?


Locate the policy records and contact the insurance company to verify whether the policy was active and in good standing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Life insurance providers will only pay out claims if payments were up to date. If the policy lapsed, or payment was missed due to the death, ask them if there is a grace period.

Additionally, contact any listed beneficiaries to inform them about the policy and its payment details (this is generally the deceased's surviving family).

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know It might be challenging to find policy information, because it might have either have been managed by the deceased's workplace or purchased privately. It may not even be listed within end-of-life or Estate documents.

Search through the deceased's home or office where important documents would have been kept. Policies that say “term life,” “universal life,” “group life,” or “whole life” should be investigated.

To request the life insurance benefits, submit a claim form online. Each insurance company will have their own procedures and documents, but they will most likely ask for the following information:

Payments are most often received in the following two ways:

  • Lump Sum - the entire death benefit is provided at once (not subject to taxation)
  • Annuity - the insurance provider invests the benefit owed, and payments are given to beneficiaries annually or monthly, along with any additional interest gained (subject to taxation)

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If more than one beneficiary is named on the policy, each person may need to submit their own claim form. Speak with the insurance provider to confirm.


It's in your best interest to confirm that no unknown, active policies are in place.

Search the deceased's property and any important files stored in and outside the home, like a safe or Safe Deposit Box.

Contact bankers, financial advisors, Estate Planning Lawyers, and other professionals who might have helped the deceased obtain a policy.

And if the deceased was working at the time of their death, call their employer to determine whether there were any existing group policies.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know If you don't know if the deceased had a life insurance policy, search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners database


If the deceased had life insurance:

Locate the policy records and contact the insurance company to verify whether the policy was active and in good standing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Life insurance providers will only pay out claims if payments were up to date. If the policy lapsed, or payment was missed due to the death, ask them if there is a grace period.

Additionally, contact any listed beneficiaries to inform them about the policy and its payment details (this is generally the deceased's surviving family).

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know It might be challenging to find policy information, because it might have either have been managed by the deceased's workplace or purchased privately. It may not even be listed within end-of-life or Estate documents.

Search through the deceased's home or office where important documents would have been kept. Policies that say “term life,” “universal life,” “group life,” or “whole life” should be investigated.

To request the life insurance benefits, submit a claim form online. Each insurance company will have their own procedures and documents, but they will most likely ask for the following information:

Payments are most often received in the following two ways:

  • Lump Sum - the entire death benefit is provided at once (not subject to taxation)
  • Annuity - the insurance provider invests the benefit owed, and payments are given to beneficiaries annually or monthly, along with any additional interest gained (subject to taxation)

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If more than one beneficiary is named on the policy, each person may need to submit their own claim form. Speak with the insurance provider to confirm.

If the deceased did not have life insurance:

It's in your best interest to confirm that no unknown, active policies are in place.

Search the deceased's property and any important files stored in and outside the home, like a safe or Safe Deposit Box.

Contact bankers, financial advisors, Estate Planning Lawyers, and other professionals who might have helped the deceased obtain a policy.

And if the deceased was working at the time of their death, call their employer to determine whether there were any existing group policies.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know If you don't know if the deceased had a life insurance policy, search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners database

Actions to Take


If you don't know if the deceased had life insurance, search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners database

Providers to Contact


Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate Attorneys can help you identify and apply for insurance claims owed to the deceased. They help settle a deceased person’s estate.

No results in your area.


Immediately After a Death