2) If you already have life insurance, make sure your beneficiary information is up-to-date and the insurance paperwork is readily accessible to your family.
"Many people who could benefit from life insurance don't have it – but sometimes, a person has life insurance that the family doesn't know about," said Mary Jane Fortin, president, Allstate Life and Retirement. "Family members may go through unnecessary anguish if they don't know they can file a claim as beneficiaries of a life insurance policy."
In one case, an Allstate claims adjuster found third-party records indicating that a 42-year-old insured man had passed away. However, she received no response when she attempted to contact his wife at their last known address. The claims adjuster played detective, and found a possible cell phone number on a public database. Fortunately, this was in fact the wife's phone number.
When the adjuster called, the wife said she had no idea her husband had a $250,000 life insurance policy. She burst into tears on the phone. After her husband died suddenly, she and the three children moved in with her parents and she went back to work. She said she'd just told the children, ages 3 to 12, they probably would never be able to afford to live in their own home again. She was grateful to learn she could file a life insurance claim for the funds to help take care of her family.
Three tips from Allstate
1. Doublecheck your life insurance beneficiaries – and update names if needed – by contacting your insurance agent or insurance company. You can find the agent's and insurance company's contact information on the life insurance policy or premium notices. Make sure your beneficiaries know they are named on your policy.
2. Know where family members keep copies of their life insurance policies and other important financial records, and make sure this paperwork is accessible to you in case of death. (In other words, don't keep the only records in a safety deposit box that would be less readily accessible to your beneficiaries.)
3. If you are a beneficiary who needs to file a claim, call the family member's insurance agent or the insurance company to notify them of the death. The insurer will send you the necessary forms and instructions to file the claim. You'll be asked to provide the person's death certificate, Social Security number, date of birth and insurance policy number.
But, do you really need life insurance? If so, how much?
Life insurance is particularly important if you have a spouse and/or children who depend on you. Most obviously, the insurance's death benefit can help them cover unpaid medical bills or replace your income, providing financial assistance during difficult times. Some life insurance products are used to accumulate savings or as a source of retirement income. Life events often prompt people to think about life insurance: when you marry, have a first child, have additional children or plan to start a business.
As part of September's Life Insurance Awareness Month, Allstate agents and financial professionals are offering complimentary insurance check-ups to help you assess your current insurance coverage based on your long-term financial needs. This information can help you decide if you need life insurance, how much, what type and how it can fit into your budget.
"When everything is going well, it's actually the best time to purchase life insurance," said Fortin. "Insurance prices are based in part on your age and health when you take out the policy, and today's prices are very competitive. Don't put off this important purchase to help ensure your family's financial security."
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life's uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Now celebrating its 85th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. In 2015, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities.
Life insurance is issued by Allstate Life Insurance Company, Northbrook, Ill.; Allstate Assurance Company, Northbrook, Ill.; American Heritage Life, Jacksonville, Fla.; and in New York, by Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, N.Y.
Securities offered by personal financial representatives through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member FINRA, SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727. Check the background of this firm on FINRA's BrokerCheck website.
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SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company