A Life Insurance Policy is meant to secure the future of the family in the absence of the principal breadwinner but there are certain procedures that the family members have to go through so that they can claim the money that is promised to them. The insurance company, on the other hand, is committed to ensure easy and timely settlement of a valid claim for the premium paid by the policyholder during his lifetime.

Here are certain things that the nominee of the policy should do after the demise of the policy holder.

·         The nominee should check whether the insurance policy was still active and all the premiums have been paid in a timely manner.

·         Does the particular situation for which the claim would be made is covered in the policy

·         Going through the exclusions in the policy.

1.      The first step to death claim settlement process is to inform the insurance company about the death of the policy holder so that they can start the claim process. The details of the policy, like the policy number, name of insured, date, place and cause of death, name of nominee and other relevant details have to be provided. This can be done by filling a form at the company insurance branch or by downloading it from the insurance website through an online form.

2.      Certain documents have to be provided by the family members to the insurance company and they include death certificate, original policy document, ID of the insured person and any other document as asked by the insurance company. All these documents should be submitted as early as possible.

3.     Also in case of early claims, that is, claims which occur when the death has happened within the first three years of the policy being taken, the company will also conduct extra investigation to ensure that the claim is genuine. In that regard, they might check with the hospital where he was admitted, and ask for all medical records; they might check with the airline authorities if the policy holder was a passenger or not. In case the policyholder has died from murder or suicide, the post mortem report, FIR and other documents will be asked for.

4.      Regulation 8 of the IRDAI states that the insurer is obliged to settle the claim within 30 days of the receipt of the necessary documentation. In case of further investigation, the claim still has to be settled within 6 months of the written intimation of the claim.

5.      The maturity payment would include the amount payable as well as any bonus or incentive that the insurance might have accumulated over a period of time. A bank discharge form is sent to the policy holder in advance and this form has to be filled in and sent back to the insurance company by the relatives, along with original policy document, a cancelled cheque and a copy of the passbook.

6.      At times, certain insurance policies contain riders for extra protection like accidental rider, critical illness rider, waiver of premium and the like, and the claim proceeding for each of them might vary accordingly. Some riders might be valid with the death claim like accidental rider, while others are dependent on circumstances. Copy of the required documents in such cases would also have to be submitted as mentioned earlier.

It has often been complained that insurance companies delay or defer payment during claim settlement which can be harrowing for the family already going through an emotional crisis. Hence, it is important to have a sound knowledge of the claim process beforehand so that precious time can be saved at that time.