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Claiming Life Insurance

Dealing with a death is never easy and the last thing you want is a mountain of complex paperwork as you try to determine how to claim life insurance. Here at Compare Cover, we want to make things as simple as possible for you, so we've created this guide to give you an insight into the claims process and how to claim life insurance should the worst happen.

Insurance providers are aware of how difficult paperwork can be at this time, so they will try to keep the process as simple as possible.


When can you claim?

If you're the immediate next of kin of someone who dies or are named as the beneficiary on someone's life insurance policy and they die within the term of the policy, you will be able to make a claim on life insurance policies held by the deceased.

In some cases the insurer may also have made some specific exclusions to the policy when the policy was taken out, so it's important to carefully read its key features and policy documents. For example, they may not cover critical illness claims for a condition which existed before the policy was taken out.

In the case of Critical Illness Cover you will need to be diagnosed with a critical illness that is covered by your policy in order to claim. In some cases, the illness may have to reach a certain level of severity (which will be outlined in your policy) before you can claim. For example, the early stages of some forms of cancer may not be covered.


First step – let the provider know you're going to claim

If you are going to make a claim the first thing you should do is contact the insurance provider to let them know. The policy's details or the provider's website will have information about how to get in touch in these circumstances.

They will usually want to know the policy number, the name of the person who held the policy, who you are and your relationship to them or in the case of critical illness cover, the illness you've been diagnosed with will need to be disclosed too.

You will then usually be sent a claim form to fill out, which will tell you which documents are required by the insurer.

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What will you need to make a claim?

To make a claim on a life insurance policy, there are a number of documents that you will usually need. These can include:

Death certificate

These are issued through a register office (Register a Death) and they will provide you with certified true copies of the certificate. In some circumstances, such as if there is more than one policy, you may need several copies.

If you're making a claim on a critical illness cover policy, you will, of course, not need a death certificate.

The policy document/certificate of insurance

This should have been supplied by the insurance provider when the policy was purchased. If you can't find this document you will need to contact the insurance provider who will be able to help you.


What happens once the claim has been approved?

You'll receive the funds in one of two ways. If the life insurance policy was written in trust (find out more about this on our Life Insurance and Inheritance Tax page) the payout will normally be paid directly to the beneficiaries.

If you are claiming on a life insurance policy that was not written in trust then the payout will form part of the estate of the deceased person and may have to go through a legal process called probate. In this case it is likely that you will have to wait significantly longer to receive the funds.

If you are claiming on a critical illness cover policy which has not been written in trust, then the money will be paid to you by the insurer directly.

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