The purpose of insurance is to protect you and your family. Often, the most important insurance policy you’ll ever take out is your life insurance policy—the one that will provide for the people you love in their most difficult time. Unfortunately, insurance companies in Atlanta do not always keep their promises, and they may deny claims even for a valid, fully paid policy. If you or your family are struggling to collect on a life insurance policy, or if it has already been denied, you need to speak to an Atlanta insurance dispute lawyer.
At John Foy & Associates, we have over 20 years of experience working to beat insurance companies. We understand the tricks they use, and we have a long history of making them pay anyway. Our law firm was founded with one purpose: to help people get the money they deserve. We never represent insurance companies, and always take the side of the families fighting to get their claim paid. Let us give you a free consultation and help you understand your claim. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Why would a life insurance claim be denied?
Insurance policies are complicated, and insurance companies like it this way—it gives them many reason to delay or deny a claim. While there are countless reasons a claim can be denied, the most common challenges we see include:
- The death involved suicide, risky behavior, or happened outside of the country
- The death was related to smoking, alcohol or drugs
- The insurance company claims that a premium was not paid
- The employer failed to pay a group premium or process paperwork correctly
- The policy did not name a beneficiary, or the beneficiary already passed away
- The policy violated a divorce order (for example, if the court ordered the policy holder to leave children from a first marriage as beneficiaries, but they changed it)
Insurance companies can use dozens of other exclusions as well, which may be built into policies or added on a case-by-case basis. Often, these exclusions are buried deep in the fine print and you don’t know about them until after tragedy has struck.
I got a letter from the insurance company saying my claim cannot legally be collected. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. Insurance companies often send letters that look as official and iron-clad as possible. They may cite a clause in “legalese” from your policy, or they may refer to a state statute. These denials look like the final verdict—but they are not.
Their denial may not be legitimate for several reasons:
- The examiner who sent the letter is likely not a lawyer. They may be taking a creative interpretation of the policy’s wording or state law. Their job is often to deny as many claims as possible.
- The insurance company may simply be wrong, or may have overlooked something in the contract.
- The company may be wrongly denying the claim when it was an employer who filed the wrong paperwork.
- The insurer may simply be lying. While uncommon, remember that a legitimate-looking letter may not be legitimate at all.
These are just the objections an insurer uses to delay or deny a policy that they do not consider valid. Sometimes, even a valid policy does not get paid out.
Why wouldn’t I be able to collect on a valid life insurance policy?
One of the most common reasons that a life insurance policy does not get paid out is simply because no one knows it exists. When a loved one passes away, their insurance company will not go out of their way to notify survivors or make sure the policy gets claimed. If none of the beneficiaries ever come forward to collect, the insurance company can ultimately pocket the value of the policy—even if you or a loved one worked for years to pay for it.
Some of the reasons life insurance policies don’t get collected include:
- Beneficiaries were never told about the policy
- The policy was through work, and the employer does not notify family
- The family only discovers the policy after the deadline to collect has passed
How do I make sure my loved ones can collect on my own policy?
The most important step is to make sure your beneficiaries know about the policy and know where to find the paperwork. In many families this is a difficult conversation to have, but it’s always better for your loved ones to know what policies you have in place and where they are kept.
Other steps you should take include:
- Keep the paperwork in a safe place. Many people use an in-home safe or a safety deposit box at a bank.
- Tell your trusted loved ones where the paperwork is and explain that it is a life insurance policy. Make sure they know how to find the key or safe combination as needed.
- The paperwork should include a full copy of the policy, which is a contract between you and the insurance company. Do not just leave a benefits sheet or loose information—put everything in one place.
- Attach your insurance agent’s business card to paperwork and make sure loved ones know who to call to file a claim.
- Keep more than one copy of the information in two different places. If you have a fire in your home, you don’t want to lose the only copy of your policy.
- If you have a lawyer, make sure they know about the policy so they can help your family.
These steps will allow your family make a claim on the policy. But that doesn’t guarantee that the insurance company will pay out. Insurance companies are adept at finding ways to avoid a payout. That’s why talking to an insurance dispute lawyer is so important.
Is there a deadline to collect a claim on a life insurance policy?
Yes. In the City of Atlanta and throughout Georgia, the local courts will enforce a variety of deadlines set by state law. Additionally, the insurance policies themselves will contain very strict deadlines—often far tighter than ones the courts use. That means you may have only a matter of weeks from a loved one’s death in which to collect on a policy.
If you need to collect on life insurance, you cannot afford to wait. And if the insurance company is delaying your policy, a good attorney may even be able to force them to pay interest on the amount they owe. You need to speak to an attorney immediately.
Talk to an Atlanta Life Insurance Dispute Attorney for Free
Life insurance is supposed to be full-proof protection for your family. Don’t let the insurance company take that away. Let John Foy & Associates gives you a free, no-obligation consultation to get you started. If we do not recovery money for you, you pay us nothing—ever. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.