California Life Insurance Lawyers
The Life Insurance Beneficiary Firm
Why You Should Hire An Experienced Life Insurance Lawyer in California
Navigating the death of a loved one is excruciating, and dealing with insurance companies can feel like one more stressor on top of many. You don’t have to go it alone and we can guide you through the claims process so that you receive the death benefits you’re owed during this sensitive time.
If you’ve filed your life insurance claim and your payout is being delayed or your life insurance claim was denied, call Boonswang Law right away. We know the strategies life insurance companies use to unfairly delay or deny claims, and we will help you fight back.
Boonswang Law is proud to serve beneficiary clients throughout California with a dedicated team of life insurance lawyers ready to help people who live in and near the following cities:
Common Reasons Life Insurance Claims Are Denied in California
Just because someone has a life insurance policy doesn’t mean that their beneficiary will automatically receive benefits after their death. There are several legal reasons why an insurance company can refuse to pay death benefits in California.
When the insured passes away, the life insurance company will want to see some sort of official proof. Refusing or failing to submit these documents could result in your claim being denied. Insurance companies will typically accept documents such as a certified death certificate, an obituary, or a bill from the funeral home.
Missed Premium Payments
Life insurance policies generally require the insured to pay a premium each month in order to maintain coverage. Failure to pay that premium or late payments can cause coverage to lapse, which allows the insurance company to deny subsequent claims.
All life insurance policies contain exclusions, which means that the policy may not cover certain causes of death. For example, taking your own life is typically disqualified as a covered reason in a life insurance policy. If the policyholder’s death circumstances are not covered by the policy, the insurance company does not legally have to distribute death benefits.
Life insurance fraud can occur in many forms. Things like faking death, killing a covered person in an attempt to collect benefits, or making changes to a policy you don’t own are all considered life insurance fraud. Not only can fraud nullify the life insurance policy, but the persons responsible for the fraud could face serious legal consequences.
Insurance Scams & Bad Faith: What to Watch Out For
While policyholders can commit insurance fraud, insurance companies aren’t always innocent. There are several scams and bad faith behaviors you should be aware of to ensure you’re getting the best coverage possible and that your family will be fairly compensated upon your death.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Sales pitches for indexed universal life insurance (IUL) policies can be ripe for misleading and fraudulent behavior. Indexed universal life insurance allows the policyholder to grow their cash value by contributing a portion toward an equity index account like a S&P 500 or NASDAQ. While growing cash seems appealing, these policies can be complex and confusing.
IUL policies can often create problems for older policyholders, especially when an insurance agent tries to present what looks like a great deal on a new policy. Because your cash growth is contingent upon interest credits from a financial index, it may not be the best option for older people with a shorter life expectancy or if you don’t have much discretionary income.
A churning scam occurs when an insurance agent intentionally misrepresents their products using falsified data to convince a policyholder to purchase a new policy with a supposed lower rate or premium. Churning typically targets older policyholders who have had policies for a long time. While the appeal of the lower rate is tempting, the fallout can be devastating.
If you’re victim to a churning scam, you can lose the cash savings from the initial policy and the full value of the policy itself. Churning takes the savings on an existing policy and uses it as a loan to purchase the new policy. Every time a new payment is made, the original policy value decreases. Once there’s no money left, the policy lapses and there’s no available coverage.
Insurance Bad Faith
When a life insurance company acts in bad faith, it means they’ve denied a claim without reasonable cause, delayed payment, or offered compensation that’s well below what the beneficiaries are owed. Insurance companies save money when they deny claims, which is why it’s important to speak with a life insurance lawyer to understand your rights in California.
What to Expect When You Hire an Experienced California Life Insurance Lawyer
If you’ve never worked with a life insurance lawyer in California you may be unsure about what to expect. The good news is that there are many benefits to hiring Boonswang Law instead of trying to handle your life insurance claim on your own.
Below are some of the ways we can and will assist you:
- We review the terms of the policy and explain coverage and exclusions
- We investigate why your claim has been denied
- We investigate the cause of death of the insured and whether the denial reason used applies
- We follow up on any delayed payouts
- We settle disputes over incorrect payout amounts
Let’s face it – life insurance companies only make money for their shareholders when they DON’T pay claims. For this reason, many valid claims are unfairly denied, or payout is delayed in order to collect interest on money that is yours. Let us help you fight back against bad faith practices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Life Insurance and Life Insurance Claims in California
What Can Prevent A Person From Qualifying for Life Insurance in California?
Laws prevent insurance companies from denying people coverage because of race, religion, religion, gender, etc. Still, there are lawful reasons why a life insurance company can deny someone a policy in California. Certain pre-existing medical conditions, dangerous hobbies, and a reckless driving history are all reasons a person could be denied a life insurance policy.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Life Insurance Claim Paid in CA?
On average, it can take a life insurance company between 30-60 days to process a claim. If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you should try to file your claim as soon after the insured’s death as possible. Working with a California life insurance lawyer can ensure that your claim is filed timely and correctly.
What Happens When A Life Insurance Claim Is Denied?
If your life insurance claim was denied, the life insurance company will send you an explanation letter. You will then have the opportunity to contest the claim denial.
Hiring an experienced California life insurance lawyer is highly recommended to assist you in disputing a denied claim. An experienced life insurance lawyer will know how to navigate the situation to improve your chances of getting the money you deserve.
What Happens When a Minor is Listed as the Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy?
There may be instances where the beneficiary of a policy is under 18 when the policyholder dies. A California court will usually appoint a custodian to oversee the minor’s death benefits in these cases, but policyholders can also appoint one prior to their death.
Unfortunately, however, not much can be done to stop the custodian from dipping into the minor’s inheritance for their personal benefit. If a minor must be named as the beneficiary, it is best to set up a trust and designate the minor the beneficiary of the trust. We suggest working with an estate planning attorney who can help you understand the legalities of setting up a trust.
How Will I Know if My Loved One Had A Life Insurance Policy?
There is no nationwide database that lists every single life insurance policyholder. If you’re unsure whether your loved one had a life insurance policy, there are a few things you can do. If possible, contact their employer to ask about benefits, look through paperwork for life insurance documents, or review bank statements to check for evidence of paid life insurance premiums.
Keep in mind: If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it is your responsibility to notify the insurance company that the policyholder has died.
Can I Share Life Insurance Benefits with my Siblings?
In some cases, an insured may only list one of their children as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy. The beneficiary won’t be able to add any additional beneficiaries to the policy, but there are no rules against them sharing the death benefits once they are received.
Can Death Benefits Be Contested If the Beneficiary Was Changed Recently?
Yes, if there is suspicion that the change was made fraudulently or under duress.
Every policyholder is allowed to change beneficiaries while they are alive as long as they are of sound mind and not under duress. As a result, last-minute changes are usually not easy to contest unless you can prove that these changes were made fraudulently.
Irrevocable beneficiaries, however, are the exception. This status is typically given to spouses and children. Divorce or estrangement cannot change this status. An irrevocable beneficiary must consent to all policy changes that affect their benefits. Some policies will require them to approve all changes.
If an insurance company says you were removed as an irrevocable beneficiary from a life insurance policy, this change can most likely be contested.
Can I Still Receive Death Benefits if the Insurance Policy Has Lapsed?
Perhaps. If the life insurance policy you are the beneficiary on lapses, you may still be able to receive death benefits. Each situation is different, so it’s best to talk to a California life insurance lawyer so they can directly address the specific policy in question.
Can The Beneficiary on a Life Insurance Policy Be Changed After the Insured’s Death?
No. It’s generally only the original insurance policyholders who can make changes to the policy. Exceptions are sometimes made for people who have power of attorney. Any paperwork showing that the beneficiary has been changed after the insured’s death is fraudulent.
Contact Boonswang Law if you believe that someone is attempting to scam you.
Can A Spouse Contest A Life Insurance Policy?
Yes. There can be some confusion over who is entitled to what when an insured gets remarried. A life insurance lawyer can help you understand your rights as the deceased’s spouse or former spouse.
Call the California Life Insurance Lawyers at Boonswang Law Today
If the thought of dealing with life insurance issues has you feeling overwhelmed, please know that you don’t have to go it alone. We’ve helped many California life insurance beneficiaries in your position get the benefits the insured intended them to receive.
Call Boonswang Law today at (855) 865-4335 to set up a free consultation.