How Long Does it Take to Receive a Death Benefit Check? 2

How long does it take the beneficiary to get the death benefit check?

It can vary; death benefit checks come from the insurance company and are based on several factors. One factor is the insurance company needs to process the claim and information needs to be provided, like a death certificate for example. Sometimes it can be delayed because death certificates can be delayed. You are dealing with another party – the county or the state – to issue that death certificate, and they operate on a different schedule.

The insurance company looks at the death certificate and processes that death benefit, based on the policy itself. If the policy is within a two-year period of time, the insurance company has the right to look at anything that has happened within the last two years. Let’s say I bought a life insurance policy a year and two months ago. Then, I passed away from an illness. Consequently, they can look to see why I died. If I passed away, they can check it all out. They can review doctor records and everything else to make sure I told the truth on the application. That’s two years – a two-year look back – and insurance companies have that right.

Life Insurance Policy Challenges

So in some cases, it can take a little while to dig through everything. It’s called a challenge. Insurance companies may not really challenge the policy, but they will investigate. After the challenge period, which is two years, the death benefit is paid much more quickly. Insurance companies can’t go back and challenge anything at that point. Challenges have a two-year time limit, and that’s the way it is with all policies. So the death benefit can come fairly quickly if everything lines up quickly. If the death certificate is received and there is not a challenge period, it can come pretty quickly usually within a couple of weeks, or it could take longer

Beyond the challenge period, can a death benefit check ever be denied?

No, after two years, insurance companies have to pay that death benefit check. It is within those two years, that if someone dies, they’re going to look and see why. For example, a personal friend of mine, with whom I wrote a life insurance policy, fell into a lake, hit his head and that’s where he passed away. His insurance company went ahead and looked to see why he fell. In other words, they wanted to see if there was some health reason he did not divulge during the application process that they wanted to check out. They didn’t find anything, and therefore, the claim was paid as quickly as possible. But we were within those two years. So that type of situation can happen, but most of the time, it runs pretty smoothly.

Life Insurance Questions?

We hope that this information on death benefit checks is useful to you.

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2 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Receive a Death Benefit Check?

  • Patrice Grundhauser

    My mom died of a massive stroke in March 2019 and her life insurance policy went into effect in June 2017. I am a beneficiary on her life insurance policy, and I turned in my claim for the life insurance benefits in May 2019, but it is now July 2019 and the life insurance company is still investigating her death and I havent received any money yet. How long will it take to investigate her death?

    • William Bronson

      Patrice, first let me say how sorry we are to hear of your mom’s passing. I understand how hard that is to deal with and to navigate all of the arrangements.
      Normally a claim doesn’t take longer than 60 days and can happen in a little as 10 to 14 days. It could delay the process since you didn’t file the claim right away.
      You should contact the claims department to find out a status or if they need any additional information. There could just be an error or missing item.
      I suspect it’s just taking longer than average and that it should be resolved soon. I would call the claims department because they will know for sure.