Most insurance have a very simple process for filing the death claim. Problems that come up usually relate to either an issue concerning the accuracy of the person’s application submission or to questions about the cause of death.
In Their Zeal to Make a Sale
This can sometimes come about due to the sales agent methodology in asking application questions. Sometimes in their zeal to make a sale, the agent gets a bit sloppy in how they ask questions.
For example, the insurance company’s application may say “Have you ever smoked tobacco?” But the agent may ask: “Do you smoke tobacco?” If the insured smoked ten years ago but doesn’t smoke now they will give an incorrect answer. The answer is given to the insurance company. When the insured dies, the insurance company may perform an investigation and wind up denying the benefits.
Many policies and some states prohibit such actions – known as retroactive underwriting if the insureds supposed statement was made X years before. The policy is deemed is not to be contestable based on inaccuraciers in the application because of the time that has expired since the application was submitted.
The only other way to fight this is through the testimony or credible statement of a witness to the original conversation.
Cause of Death
The other issue – cause of death – can also be a difficult one. It tends to turn on the testimony, if available, of a medical expert witness. As with the application issue, cause of death issues can be time barred against the insurer.