Good Forms 101:
The Life Insurance Claim Form
Filing insurance claims may feel like a confusing or stressful (or both) process for you and the ones you care about, but it doesn’t have to be.
As part of an ongoing series to address common questions about claim forms, here are some tips and solutions for frequently asked questions we hear from both policyholders and beneficiaries regarding the life insurance claim form.
Question #1: What’s the quickest way to file?
Life insurance claims cannot be filed online through AFmobile®. Instead, beneficiaries must complete and submit a paper form by fax, mail, or emailing AFA-Life-Claims@americanfidelity.com. Click here to download the claim forms you’ll need.
Question #2: What documentation is required to file a claim?
Along with your completed claim form, you must mail, fax, or email a certified original death certificate (showing final cause and manner of death) and a completed Internal Revenue Service Form W-9 for each payee.
Question #3: Do I need to submit the original death certificate or a copy?
For policies with a face value under $25,000, we can accept a copy of the death certificate. For policies with face values of $25,000 and over, we will need a certified copy of the original death certificate. There are three ways you can obtain a certified original death certificate:
- From your state or local health department.
- From the funeral home you are working with.
- From a third-party company such as VitalChek.
Question #4: Is the policy taxable?
While the benefits of a life insurance policy are not taxable, the interest from the policy can be.
Question #5: Do I *really* need to submit a Form W-9?
Yes. To comply with tax regulations, all U.S. beneficiaries are required to submit a Form W-9, regardless of the amount of interest received.
Question #6: How do I fill out my Form W-9?
If you are having trouble filling out your Form W-9, check out these step-by-step instructions put together by Investopedia. You can also reach out to your American Fidelity account representative if you need further assistance.
Question #7: Do all beneficiaries need to turn in their paperwork before payments are distributed?
No. When a beneficiary submits all required information, that beneficiary is eligible to receive their portion of the benefit without having to wait for other beneficiaries to submit all required information. However, if legal affidavits are required in order to confirm the surviving heirs, American Fidelity must wait until all completed and notarized affidavits are returned before we can move forward with payment.
Question #8: What if the beneficiary’s name has changed since the last beneficiary designation?
If the name change was due to marriage or divorce, a copy of the marriage certificate or divorce decree will be required. If the name has changed due to personal preference, a court document indicating the name change from the birth name to the requested name will be required. A government-issued ID with the new name would also be accepted in either instance.
Question #9: Is direct deposit an option?
Yes. We can provide a direct deposit form for the claim payee to complete and submit with a voided check. If a voided check is not available, a letter from the bank confirming the account number, routing number, and account holder names is acceptable.
When the time comes for your beneficiaries to make a life insurance claim, it’s extremely important for them to know exactly what the policy entails and who to contact. It’s often said that life insurance isn’t for you, but the ones you leave behind. Make sure your loved ones know how the claim process works now to save them added stress later.
These are just a few of the common questions we hear. Other questions and resources can be found on the life insurance support page. Your dedicated account manager can always help with questions, too!
This blog is up to date as of October 2020 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.
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