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What Can Cause A Death Benefit to be Delayed?

When you are already facing the loss of a loved one, a delay in processing a death benefit claim can surely add to your burden. In most circumstances, life insurance companies are cognizant of this, and try to process death benefits as soon as possible. However, there are certain circumstances that send out “red flags”, which may cause the insurance company to investigate, and delay the claim. These can be:

  • If there seems to be some question as to whether the policy was “in force” at the time of death. This is more often the case with Term Life policies.
  • If the policy is less than 2 years old.
  • If the death seems to have occurred under suspicious circumstances.
  • If the policy carries a “double indemnity” clause for an accidental death, and there is reason to believe this was an accidental death, the insurance company will investigate to determine if it was an accident and double indemnity applies.
  • If there are discrepancies on the life insurance application, such as if the age on the death certificate does not match stated age at time of application, or if the person was a smoker who did not disclose that on the application.

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