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Does your family know how to claim on your policy?

Posted  June 10, 2019

You’ve got an insurance policy, premiums are up to date, so you can relax, right? Wait! There’s another important step to take - make sure your beneficiaries know how to claim.

Did you know there are billions of Rands in unclaimed benefits in South Africa from a range of policies, including life insurance? That means there is money that is due to a beneficiary, but it is never paid because the beneficiary doesn’t know they can claim, or how to claim. Don’t let that happen to your family.

Insurance is there to ease financial stress when a breadwinner becomes ill or passes on, so it is really important that you and your family know how to claim.

1. Tell your family and beneficiaries what policies you have and what they coverUnfortunately, many people pass on and leave relatives and friends to sort through paperwork and computer files to finalise their estates. Tell your family and policy beneficiaries what policies you have such as:

  1. Life cover
  1. Funeral insurance
  1. Disability insurance
  1. Dread disease cover
  1. Group benefits with employer
  1. Pension funds and retirement annuities
  1. Investments
  1. Medical cover

Make sure your family members know what each policy covers, for instance, death or a critical illness, so that they know when to claim.

Ideally, your family should only have to claim on a death or funeral policy. However, if you are seriously ill or unconscious you may not be able to claim on a disability or dread disease policy yourself, in which case your family will have to claim, so include these in your discussion.

Top tip: If there are any exclusions or waiting periods on your policy advise your family of these. You can find these details on your policy schedule.

2. Make sure your family, beneficiaries, advisor or attorney know where your policies areIs your policy in paper form or saved on a computer or in the cloud?

If it is on paper let your family know where it is and keep it in the same place or tell them if you move it.

If your document is stored on a digital file, make sure someone can access the file in the event of your passing or becoming seriously ill or disabled.

These documents are important because they show exactly what is covered, who the beneficiaries are and the details on where to claim.

Top tip: Complete a claims instruction sheet for each policy
This is like a cheat sheet for each policy so your family will have the policy number, contact details for the 1Life claims department and other important policy details at hand. This one pager is a great help when your relatives are struggling to come to terms with your passing or illness and have to deal with admin matters and paperwork.

3. Walk them through the claims processFirstly, make sure the right person claims – this can save time. Here’s who should claim and contact our claims department:

  1. Life policy: The beneficiaries named in the policy
  1. Funeral policy: The beneficiary named if the principal member passes on, or the principal member if an additional member passes.
  1. Disability, dread disease and Expense Protector policies: The life assured or a family member if the life assured is unable to.

Our 1Life claims team will assist your family members with your claim, but you can prepare some of the documents we will need such as the policy number and original or certified copies of the life assured’s ID. If the claim is due to be paid to a beneficiary, we will also need their bank account and ID details.

When it comes to other documents such as doctors’ and specialists’ reports, each claim may have different requirements, so your family members should call us first to find out which documents we require. We try to keep the paperwork to a minimum and pay claims as quickly as we can.

4. Tell your family why you took the policy and how you would like the funds from a claim to be spent
You may take a life policy so that your bond will be paid off and your children’s education paid, or you may want your policy pay-out to be invested for an income. We can’t rule from the grave, but it is good for your family and relatives to know your wishes. You can share these in a family get together or make a list of how you would like your family to use their claim pay-out. You may also wish to specify how a funeral policy pay-out is to be spent so your family doesn’t overspend on your service.

5. Keep your family updated of any changes to your policyYour cover may increase, you may add or remove a beneficiary or take out an additional benefit such as disability. Keep your family and beneficiaries updated so they know who can claim, and under what circumstances.

Make claiming easyYour cover is a legacy. Make sure it is a legacy that is easy to access and easy to manage by keeping your family and beneficiaries in the know. Check with your beneficiaries and family once a year and go through the checklist above so that when the time comes, they will know what to do. That way you know your policy will help your loved ones when the most need it.

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