The last thing you should have to worry about after losing a loved one is whether you will get the life insurance benefits your loved one wanted you to have. If your life insurance claim was denied, don’t waste time trying to deal with the insurance company on your own. Attorney Marcus Vaden knows their tricks and will fight to get you the death benefits you are entitled to as quickly as possible.
The Number One Goal of Insurance Companies Is to Make Money
We’d like to believe that the purpose of insurance companies is to help people in their time of need, but the reality is that the insurance industry is a highly profitable business and those profits come from paying out less than they’re taking in. Insurance is always a gamble. The insurer is betting on not having to pay out on every policy, and the insured is betting on getting back more than they paid in if catastrophe strikes one day.
Insurance companies increase their profits by denying claims, sometimes for no reason at all. Despite having paid your premiums loyally for years, you could still be denied in your time of greatest need. This is especially difficult when we are talking about life insurance. Not only have you lost your spouse or parent, but now you are forced to fight for the benefits your loved one counted on leaving behind.
Insurance Company Tactics for Denying Life Insurance Benefits
Of all the types of insurance out there, life insurance seems like a sure bet. Everyone dies someday, so it stands to reason that as long as you pay your premiums, your beneficiaries are guaranteed to get the full value of the policy when you pass away. You go through life with the peace of mind that your spouse or your children will have enough money to get by for at least a little while if you were to suddenly pass away.
However, too often, families who were counting on those benefits are denied. Some common reasons for life insurance denial include the following:
- Misrepresentation. The insurer may claim that the policyholder withheld important information or lied about a medical condition. If the claim is made within the contestability period—usually two years—the insurance company has a right to deny the claim for almost any reason. After this period has ended, the insurer must have proof of fraud to deny a claim for misrepresentation. An attorney can ensure that the adjuster is playing by the rules.
- Cause of death. Many life insurance policies exclude coverage for certain causes of death, including suicide. If the insurance company is disputing the official cause of death and is refusing to pay on a policy, the beneficiaries should consult an attorney.
- Unpaid premiums. An insurance company may claim that premium payments were missed or were paid late. Arkansas requires a 30-day grace period for payments of life insurance premiums, so some payments the insurer is questioning may not actually be late. An attorney may be able to help beneficiaries dispute claims of nonpayment.
- Unnamed beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is not named in the policy, the deceased’s estate should still inherit the benefits. Although this will require going through probate, an attorney may be able to help family members make a claim for the benefits.
Whatever the reason for a life insurance claim denial, the insurer will take a dispute more seriously if a lawyer is involved.
What is a contestability clause?
When you purchase life insurance, you immediately enter into what’s called a contestability period. During this period of time, which is usually two years, the insurance company can investigate any claim by your beneficiary that’s made for a life insurance payout. It’s also the time period when many insurance companies deny life insurance claims.
If you should die during the contestability period, the life insurance company will thoroughly examine the application you originally filled out to see if there are any inaccuracies, omissions, or misrepresentations that invalidate the beneficiary’s claim.
Important Facts About the Contestability Period
While it’s true that you may have to wait a longer period of time to receive a life insurance payout if your loved one dies during the contestability period, the insurance company will likely pay if there is no evidence of fraud or intentional inaccuracies. However, there is other important information you need to know about this time period, including:
- If there are mistakes in the original application, the life insurance company will determine if these were unintentional errors or misrepresentation of facts. For example, your loved one may have miscalculated the number of years he stopped drinking alcohol. The insurance company may deny the claim completely, or it might reduce the payout based on the new data.
- Some people lie on their life insurance applications so they can get better policy rates. Some lie to get a policy they may not qualify for otherwise. In either case, it’s never a good idea to exaggerate, falsify, or withhold information to get lower rates with the hope that you’ll still be alive after the contestability period has ended. If you lie, your family is at risk of receiving a denied claim after you die.
- If your policy lapses and you get it reinstated, you may face another two-year contestability period. Be aware that keeping up to date with your premium payments can help avoid another period where a claim can be investigated.
Contact Marcus Vaden Law
Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without dealing with a life insurance company that doesn’t want to pay the benefit it owes you. If your life insurance claim is being investigated or has been denied during the contestability period, attorney Marcus Vaden can help you get the money you deserve. He has successfully fought for the rights of claimants in Arkansas and will help fight for you. Call Marcus Vaden Law today for a free consultation.
Marcus Vaden Will Review Your Claim
If your claim on a loved one’s life insurance policy has been denied in Arkansas, don’t hesitate to contact attorney Marcus Vaden. He will review the policy and the circumstances of your loved one’s death and help you file an appeal if it is appropriate to do so.
We know how difficult it is to lose a loved one, and we will not waste your time with false promises. As an experienced life insurance appeal law firm with proven courtroom experience, we are here for you in your time of need. Fill out our contact form or call our Conway office today.