Boonswang Law’s Washington Life Insurance Lawyers Will Fight for Your Benefits
Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a WA life insurance lawyer to discuss your case
People purchase life insurance policies for themselves to ensure that their dependents are taken care of in the event of their death. Unfortunately, filing a claim for death benefits isn’t always easy for life insurance beneficiaries. Many beneficiaries find the process to be confusing, or even worse, learn that the life insurance company denied their claim.
Our experienced WA life insurance lawyers will help you fight back and get the payout your loved one intended you receive.
Boonswang Law has represented life insurance beneficiary clients throughout Washington State, Including These Cities and the Surrounding Areas:
- Federal Way
Common Reasons Life Insurance Claims are Denied in Washington State
You think you know how life insurance works–someone purchases a policy, pays premiums, and if they die within the policy term their beneficiaries receive the death benefit. But life insurance companies only make money when they collect premiums and deny or delay payouts. They try to use these reasons, among others, to deny life insurance claims.
Misinterpreting the Policy Terms and Provisions
Life insurance companies will purposely misinterpret information in an attempt to deny a life insurance claim. If you think this is happening to you, hire a WA life insurance attorney to fight back. We have frequently gotten our beneficiary clients paid after their claim was initially denied for this reason.
Life insurance policyholders must pay a premium each month in order to maintain coverage. If they fail to pay for any reason, this can cause coverage to lapse, resulting in subsequent claims being denied. However, a missed premium payment or even lapse may not automatically disqualify a beneficiary from receiving death benefits.
Life insurance lapse and termination are highly regulated, and if the life insurance company or the employer administering the policy failed to adhere to those regulations, it may not be the fault of the policyholder that premium payments were not made. In these cases, we can often get our beneficiary clients paid.
Life insurance policies will have a list of causes of death that are excluded from coverage, called “exclusions.” Death as a result of self-inflicted injuries is frequently excluded from coverage. However, we have found that life insurance companies will attempt to wrongfully classify someone’s death as a suicide. In these cases, we thoroughly investigate the cause of death and if we can prove the death was not self-inflicted, we can get our beneficiary clients paid.
Misrepresentation on the Part of the Policyholder
A policyholder must disclose all personal information, including health and lifestyle habits, on their initial application for life insurance and medical questionnaire. Life insurance adjusters base the premiums payment on this information, using it to calculate the risk to them that the policyholder will die within the policy term.
Even the smallest innocent mistake allows the life insurance company to claim that the policyholder misrepresented themselves, and then they retroactively cancel the policy and deny beneficiaries’ claims. Boonswang Law has decades of experience with types of cases and can help you if the life insurance company denies your claim for this reason.
READY TO TALK TO AN ATTORNEY ABOUT YOUR LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS?
What You Can Expect When You Work With the WA Life Insurance Lawyers at Boonswang Law
You have probably never worked with a life insurance lawyers and you may not know what to expect. There are several benefits to working with a life insurance lawyer instead of trying to handle your life insurance claim on your own, among others:
- Review the applicable policy and explain coverage and exclusions
- Review denial letters and any other documentation you’ve received from the life insurance company
- Thoroughly investigate allegations made by the life insurance company in an attempt to deny your claim
- Negotiate with the life insurance company’s team of lawyers
- Litigate your claim in court if necessary
Washington State Life Insurance FAQs
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO DISPUTE A LIFE INSURANCE CLAIM DENIAL?
Sixty days if the policy is group life insurance through an employer. Otherwise, it is prudent to file your claim denial dispute as soon as possible after getting the denial letter in order to have the best chance of finding and preserving evidence supporting payment of your life insurance claim. Having a life insurance lawyer handle your dispute is highly recommended so you can feel confident that everything is being done correctly.
WHO CAN CHANGE THE BENEFICIARY ON A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY IN WA?
Only the policyholder can legally change the beneficiary on a life insurance policy. In some instances, a person who has power of attorney over the policyholder may make changes to the policy.
Keep in mind that no changes can be made to a life insurance policy after the policyholder’s death under any circumstances.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BENEFICIARY ON A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY PREDECEASES THE POLICYHOLDER?
If the primary beneficiary predeceases the policyholder and the policyholder did not designate a secondary or contingent beneficiary, the benefits may pay to the policyholder’s estate.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY LISTS A MINOR AS THE BENEFICIARY?
If the beneficiary is still a minor when the policyholder passes away, the courts will usually choose a custodian to oversee the minor beneficiary’s death benefits. However, nothing can really be done to stop the custodian from using the minor’s payout for their own use. A policyholder should set up a trust, designate the minor as the beneficiary of the trust, and appoint a trustee to administer the trust and act as the minor’s fiduciary. We suggest hiring an estate planning attorney to help you understand the legalities of setting up a trust.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF MY LOVED ONE HAD A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. There is no nationwide online database that lists every person who has purchased a life insurance policy.
If you suspect your loved one had a life insurance policy, there are a few things you can do to investigate. If possible, contact their employer to ask if they offered group life insurance coverage as a benefit of working there. You might also look through old documents in search of life insurance paperwork and review bank statements to locate paid insurance premiums.
CAN I SHARE THE DEATH BENEFITS WITH MY SIBLINGS IF I AM THE ONLY NAMED BENEFICIARY?
Yes! It is surprisingly common for policyholders to list only one of their children as a beneficiary on their life insurance policy. Although the beneficiary will not be able to add their siblings to the policy after the policyholder’s death, there’s nothing stopping them from sharing their benefits once the benefits payout.
CAN YOU CONTEST DEATH BENEFITS IF THE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATION WAS CHANGED AT THE LAST MINUTE?
Policyholders can change beneficiaries while they are alive as long as they are of sound mind and not under duress when they make the changes.
Irrevocable beneficiaries, however, are an exception to this role. The term irrevocable beneficiary usually refers to the policyholder’s spouses and children. Divorce or estrangement does not remove this status. An irrevocable beneficiary must approve all policy changes that affect their benefits. Some policies may even require them to consent to all changes.
If an insurance company notifies you that you were removed as an irrevocable beneficiary from a life insurance policy, you may be able to contest this.
CAN I STILL RECEIVE DEATH BENEFITS IF THE LIFE INSURANCE POLICY HAS LAPSED?
Life insurance policies typically have a grace period for unpaid premiums, so you may still be able to receive death benefits even if the policyholder missed a payment. Also, in cases where the lapse was not the fault of the policyholder, we have been able to get our beneficiary clients paid. If you are a beneficiary of a lapsed life insurance policy, the WA life insurance lawyers at Boonswang Law can help you understand what your rights are.
CAN THE BENEFICIARY ON A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY BE CHANGED AFTER THE POLICY HOLDER’S DEATH?
Absolutely not. The policyholder generally is the only person who can make changes to the policy. If you receive paperwork showing that the beneficiary changed after the policyholder’s death, it is most likely fraudulent.
CAN A SPOUSE CONTEST A LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATION?
In some cases, yes. With a divorced or remarried policyholder, confusion may arise over who gets what. A WA life insurance lawyer can explain what you’re entitled to as the policyholder’s spouse or former spouse.