While losing a loved one is always difficult, finding out their life insurance policy had lapsed at the time of their death can make matters even worse. Perhaps you counted on this coverage to pay for their funeral and burial expenses or to help put your children through college and pay off your mortgage.
Finding out that your loved one’s policy may have lapsed can leave you in a financial and emotional tailspin. If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy that lapsed, having a successful claim will depend on many factors. You need a lawyer to go to work on your behalf to negotiation a payout of the lapsed life insurance policy, which might include filing a lawsuit against the life insurance company that is denying your claim.
What is a Lapsed Policy?
Lapsed policies are a common issue. When someone purchases a life insurance policy, the life insurance company only has an obligation to fulfill their contractual obligations to you if they pay their premiums. If someone fails to pay their life insurance policy premiums, the insurance carrier will likely deny any claims their beneficiaries make on their behalf.
However, most life insurance policies have a grace period in which they allow you to catch up on a missed payment and still remain covered by the policy. Each policy or insurance company will vary in the length of their grace period.
Sadly, even if the insured paid their life policy premium diligently for years, the insurance company can deny their beneficiaries’ claim if they die one day past the grace period. All hope may not be lost, however, as a life insurance denial lawyer might be able to help you depending on your circumstances.
Differing Life Insurance Laws and Policies
Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer to whether you will have a successful claim with a lapsed life insurance policy. Each policy and claim must be examined individually. It is best to discuss your claim with a life insurance denial lawyer who knows what laws will apply to your claim and how to read the fine print of your policy.
Insurance laws are different from one state to the next, and you also must take into account federal insurance laws. If an employer’s group plan owned the life insurance policy, it would generally be governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) federal law.
Aside from state and federal laws, each life insurance policy is different and subject to its own contract or declaration of coverage. The requirements and language of the policy will come into play when evaluating the potential of your claim. Additionally, there are different types of life insurance policies. Some have cash values and balances that could be applied towards the overdue premiums, at least to some degree. If the insurance company does not handle the situation correctly, you could file a life insurance lawsuit.
Can You Apply for Reinstatement?
One option to recover a life insurance policy that has lapsed is to apply for reinstatement. Whether or not your reinstatement application will be accepted is at the discretion of the life insurance company. You must submit a new application when requesting reinstatement of a lapsed policy. A new application will likely require health history questions to be answered with current information. If your health history has changed since you first acquired the policy, your reinstatement could be rejected.
If you are granted reinstatement, your policy is likely subject to a two-year contestability period for new policies. If you are to die within those two years, the insurance carrier has the right to perform an independent investigation, including obtaining your medical records. They will compare your medical records against your answers on the reinstatement application. If the insurance company concludes that you did not answer the questions on the application honestly, they could deny the claim due to material misrepresentation.
Fighting a life insurance policy claim denial can be costly and emotionally draining. It may also involve hiring a life insurance denial lawyer to file a life insurance lawsuit on your behalf. The bottom line is, paying your premiums to keep your policy from lapsing is the easiest way to ensure that your life insurance coverage is there for your beneficiaries when they need it.
Are Lapsed Life Insurance Policies a Common Problem?
At Life Insurance Law, we receive many phone calls regarding situations in which a life insurance policy has lapsed and a claim needs to be filed. We handle these claims on a case by case basis since no two policies or circumstances will be the same. In some instances, we may recommend pursuing a life insurance lawsuit.
Are There Successful Claims on a Lapsed Life Insurance Policy?
Each insurance company will differ on how aggressive they are in denying a claim due to a lapse. Sometimes your life insurance denial lawyer may be able to fight the denial of a claim based on whether the insurance carrier provided the proper notice of lapse in light of the specific policy requirements are regarding notice. For instance, if the insured were to become comatose and the family did not receive any type of notice that the premiums were not paid but did receive a notice of lapse and termination, their claim would likely be successful.
There are insurance policies that have a nonforfeiture clause. Under this condition, if the insured stops paying the premiums, they could still receive some type of benefit. When this happens, the insurance company will typically refund a portion of your premium payments or pay the cash value of the policy. In other cases, the policy will not lapse for nonpayment. Instead, it will remain active with a reduced death benefit based on the percentage of paid premiums.
Call Life Insurance Law Today for Help with Your Lapsed Life Insurance Policy Claim
If you are a beneficiary facing the denial of a claim based on an alleged lapse of the policy, there may be hope. Do not give up until you have exhausted all your options. To find out more, you should contact a life insurance denial lawyer at Life Insurance Law today. We can be reached by phone at (215) 531-7961 or through our online contact form.
Our law firm has attorneys licensed in several states, including New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. We also have a referral network across the United States. No matter where you live, we can provide a consultation for your claim.
If you have questions, our firm can provide all the information in your free consultation. Call us toll-free today to seek the full life insurance benefits you deserve.
About Life Insurance Lawyers
Life Insurance Law, LLC is a nationwide network of attorneys who work with clients to recover denied or delayed life insurance claims.
We created this network to people get the benefits they deserve, even after their life insurance claims were denied or delayed.