It’s rare, but it does happen – someone goes missing and is presumed dead, and the body is never found. If your loved one has been missing for an extended period of time, you might be wondering if you can cash in on their life insurance policy. The short answer is yes – but the process can be complicated. This is because you’ll need to provide proof of death in order to receive a death benefit. Here’s what you need to know about life insurance and missing persons.
Why Would You Want Life Insurance for a Missing Person?
Life insurance is intended to provide financial support for family and loved ones in the wake of someone’s death. The death benefit from a life insurance policy is typically used to pay for a memorial service, pay down existing debts, and provide income for the deceased’s dependents.
If a person goes missing for an extended period of time, they are typically presumed dead and the family goes through a difficult grieving process. This often happens in the wake of large scale natural disasters. During this time, the life insurance benefit can really help the family get back on their feet.
How Can I Cash a Life Insurance Policy on a Missing Person?
Filing a life insurance claim on a missing person comes with some unique complications. Before you can receive the life insurance policy of a deceased person, they must be declared legally dead by the court. This can take several years to finalize, leaving the life insurance policy in limbo for the time being. Once the court declares the missing person legally dead, the insurance company will then have verifiable proof of death and can release the payment.
There are specific criteria that must be met before a person can be declared legally dead. This criterion varies from state to state, but generally, the person has to have been missing for at least seven years with absolutely no communication before they can be declared legally dead. They also cannot be a fugitive or have any other logical reason for their disappearance. A very extensive search must be conducted as well to rule out all other possibilities.
These rules are in place to prevent insurance fraud and to prevent people from being falsely declared legally dead. Of course, there are very rare instances where someone is declared dead and is later found to be alive. If the insurance company pays out a full death benefit, in this case, they may have the right to take it back if the insured is later found alive.
Once the missing person has been legally declared dead, the process of filing a claim is actually very straightforward. Start by contacting your insurance agent to learn about your insurer’s specific processes for filing claims. They will direct you to the appropriate claim form, which you can typically send over by fax or email. Some life insurance companies will even allow you to complete the form directly on their website. To file a claim, you’ll need the insured’s death certificate, tax forms, and other identifying documents. Once the claim has been submitted, it can take some time to process. Be sure to stay in touch with your insurance company during this time to make sure that things are moving forward.
There is another option to consider if your loved one is missing and you’re the beneficiary on their life insurance policy. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with your insurance company to reach a partial settlement. While you won’t receive the full death benefit, you will get the money much faster, which can make a huge difference in your family’s overall well-being. The other benefit of taking this approach is that the insurance company cannot take the money back if the insured is later found to be alive.
If neither of these options works, don’t give up – there are a few other things you can do to receive your death benefit. Start by continuing to pay the monthly premiums on the insurance policy. If the premium payments lapse, the insurance company legally has the right to deny your claims in the future. Then, start by petitioning with the court to change the insured’s status to legally dead. Collect as much evidence as you can to strengthen your case.
You can also opt to sue your insurance company for the death benefit. This route can be more difficult and time-consuming, but it’s worth trying if you have exhausted the rest of your options. Regardless of how you choose to proceed, it’s best to hire a lawyer who has experience dealing with life insurance. They can guide you through the process and handle communications with your insurance company as necessary.
Steps to Take After a Loved One Has Gone Missing
It’s important to remember that insurance companies rarely pay out claims for missing persons. This is because it is very difficult to get a missing person declared legally dead. You can increase your chances of getting a payout by consulting with an expert legal advisor from the beginning. You should make sure to document every aspect of the insured going missing, including getting police reports, witness statements, photos, and writing down your own account of the situation. You’ll also need to document the search for your loved one as well as any attempts to communicate with them – this serves as further proof for the court and the insurance company that they are no longer reachable.
Losing a loved one is a very emotionally taxing process, so make sure you have emotional support systems in place as well. Talk to your healthcare provider about mental healthcare options, and don’t be afraid to lean on family and friends for support.
Can I Set up a Life Insurance Policy for Someone After They’ve Gone Missing?
If your loved one has gone missing and they didn’t have a life insurance policy, you may be wondering if you can take one out on them. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not allow you to take out policies on missing persons. This is to prevent insurance fraud. Additionally, the insurer would not be able to appropriately price the policy, because they cannot conduct a health exam or get the insured’s permission – both key steps in the insurance process.
Missing persons cases are rare, but they do happen, so it’s important to know how your insurance company handles them. While you can eventually get a life insurance payout for a missing person, it can take years of effort for the death benefit to finally come to fruition.