Claiming your life insurance benefits and accessing what is rightfully yours can unfortunately be much harder than you might think. Shine Lawyers has seen firsthand how insurers can often avoid paying out on genuine policies through a range of tactics. Sadly, we do see insurers unnecessarily delaying claims, denying and defending legitimate claims, and all at a time when you might need it most.
Shine Lawyers Associate Melissa O’Neill from the Superannuation & Life Insurance team, has put together her 5 top tips for avoiding insurer tactics;
- Notify your insurer as soon as possible:
It can often take weeks for your insurer to send you the claim forms and policy documentation. If you are in the position of needing to make a claim, then you need to let them know as soon as you can to save time down the track.
- Know what to claim for:
Get a copy of your policy document and look at the definition of the condition you are claiming. Check with your doctors and specialists that they are familiar with this definition so they can use the same terminology when they complete the insurer’s claim forms. This reduces the risk of insurers denying claims based on technical issues in the ‘fine print’.
- Complete ALL the documents:
Big companies are often process driven and the proper paperwork not being received (and with signatures where they need to be), is a guaranteed way to hold up your claim being processed. Make sure you have filled out every one of the forms carefully, and checked them twice.
- Put everything in writing:
A telephone conversation is not enough. All communication with the insurer should always be put in writing to better protect your rights – if they give you incorrect advice or make commitments about further actions and timeframes, it is easier to hold the insurer accountable as you have written proof.
- Speak up!
If you feel your insurer is unnecessarily delaying, denying and defending your claim – do not be afraid to escalate your case through the insurance company’s internal complaints process. If this fails, seek legal advice.
Remember: If you have not taken out a life insurance product, make sure you are open and up front about your prior medical history - as this will be important if the time comes where you need to claim your life insurance benefit.
Written by Shine Lawyers on March 10, 2016. Last modified: September 6, 2018.