Modified: November 5, 2022

My Loved One Died Pending California’s Life Insurance Application Process, Now What?

My Loved One Died Pending California's Life Insurance Application Process, Now What?

When a person dies before the insurance company can issue a life insurance policy, such a situation raises questions about whether death benefits are applicable here. The process for this varies according to the state law the person dies.

In California, case law and even a statute bring to light such circumstances and how to deal with them.

Case Law: Ransom V Penn. Mutual Life (an Insurance Company)

In 1954 in the state of California, an incident took place where the insured lost their life in a car accident. The insured purchased a life insurance policy and paid their first insurance premium. However, soon after, he died in a car accident.

The case was first of a kind as the plaintiff went after the insurance company to get a life insurance claim. The ruling in the Supreme Court went against the defendant (the insurance company), and the plaintiff (Ransom) won the case.

Ransom argued that the intention of the policyholder or the insured was to draw on death benefits from the life insurance in the future in case of death. The insured had a completed application and made their first payment towards the insurance premium, suggesting that they were looking towards drawing on the insurance coverage in the future.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued that it would go against the insurance coverage policy and the insurance contract if the death benefit or the life insurance claim saw a rejection.

The attorney went on to state that the defendant’s receipt of the insurance application and the initial premium payment was enough to constitute the applicant as paying policyholder. It was the insurance company’s responsibility to release the death benefit. The case law laid the foundations for temporary insurance protection where the policyholder can receive life insurance benefits on the condition that the insurance company has received their application and the premium payment.

The only time an insurance company can refuse life insurance benefits is when they had already rejected the application before the applicant’s death and refunded their premium payment.

California Insurance Code Further Clarifies the Position on Life Insurance Policies

California insurance code §10115 makes it an obligation for the insurance company to release life insurance coverage to the policyholder who dies during the insurance process on the condition of application acceptance and that the life insurance company acknowledges the first premium payment.

Suppose an insured has sent an application for life insurance and makes the first payment of the life insurance policy but dies before the insurance policy gets approval from the firm. In that case, the insurer has to pay life insurance benefits.

Most life insurance companies in such situations refuse to make death benefits payments to the policyholder’s family because the policy was not in effect; however, according to California law, the family can make recoveries by taking legal action.

If you are having trouble with a life insurance company and would like to seek help to obtain a recovery for your deceased spouse, contact Ehline Law now and get a free consultation on your life insurance claims.

How to File for Life Insurance Claims for Surviving Spouse

A surviving spouse can follow the steps below to file for life insurance claims with life insurers and make some death benefit recoveries.

Compile Relevant Documents

It can be depressing to lose a loved one, and this can get stressful when you reach out to an insurance company for claims. Family members can make this process easy by gathering three critical documents that most insurance companies require.

You would need to gather the following:

  • Death certificate
  • Policy document
  • Claim form.

Contact the Insurer

Once you have all the documents on hand, contact the insurance company and let them know that the policy owner has died and that it’s time they pay the death benefit. Insurance companies will not require medical records when the policyholder passes away during the application process. However, it is always better to be ready for anything as insurance firms would rather delay and not payout.

Wait

During the underwriting process, insurance firms require that the policyholder names a beneficiary in their application form in case they die so that their family member or primary beneficiary gets the claim.

The financial firm will double-check these details, the policy contract, and the premium payment receipt. These three things are essential to get a payout according to California law. The company will then verify your identity by asking you for your identity card, which may include a driver’s license, birth certificate, or even your Social Security card.

Receive Death Benefits

Once everything seems clear, the company will process your claim, which can take a few days or go up to a couple of months. Stay in touch with the insurance company and give them all the details they require to make this process smooth.

Life Insurance Company Will Try to Deny Claims Even When You Pay Premiums

Denying claims has become a cruel practice with life insurance companies or any other insurance companies that do not work in the insured’s best interest, and insurers deny claims to maximize their profits. Are you looking to draw on the death benefits of your former spouse? Have trouble with the insurance company for a claim? For more detail, contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation with our expert attorneys, who will give you legal advice on your case!

Ehline Law firm has had immense success representing more than 3,000 clients. Our Los Angeles injury attorneys have vast experience dealing with insurance companies. We will use all resources to help you file for a claim, pursue a legal battle and get you the life insurance money you deserve. Visit our website or any 15 law offices across California for general information.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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