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Unsure where to start when dealing with lots of insurance accounts after a death? Depending on how well you knew the deceased’s financial life, can often dictate how easy or difficult this process will be to complete. We employ lots of services these days – financial products, insurances, utility bills, lifestyle products – the list can be very long. Trying to deal with all of these after a death can feel like an enormous task.
This post provides tips and suggestions as to how to break down the task of dealing with insurance accounts after a death.
What do I need to do with insurance accounts?
Firstly, you should try and gather information of what types of insurance products they held. Consider the following – this list is not exhaustive:
- Life insurance
- Mortgage or Payment Protection Cover
- Home and Contents insurance
- Landlord insurance
- Business insurance
- Car, Van or Bike insurance
- Vehicle breakdown cover
- Travel insurance
- Health insurance
- Pet insurance
- Boilers or Appliances cover
- Computers, Laptops and Mobile Phone insurance
Decide whether these services are still required. If you are continuing to reside in the house, use the car or keep the travel policy – these insurance accounts may still be required by you. You will still need to contact the various companies to discuss the change in circumstances, future cover requirements and payment details.
If these accounts are no longer required, you will need to go through the process of contacting all applicable services to discuss closure of accounts.
What information will you need to discuss these accounts?
- Try to locate the details of each insurance or cover provider, including the account numbers, payment methods and terms of the policy
- Decide what needs to happen for each account – transfer the cover or account in to another name? Or does the account need to be closed altogether?
- Create a list of providers – and make a plan for calling each of them. Spread this over a period of time so you do not feel overwhelmed
- Have an electronic copy of the Death Certificate, Grant of Probate or Power of Attorney if applicable
How should you deal with contacting the different providers?
The process will be fairly similar for each company. However before you begin, remember this can be a difficult process as you have to explain yourself and the situation multiple times. See if a family member could make the calls on your behalf to support you through this.
Larger companies may have specialist bereavement teams, who are trained to deal with these situations compassionately. They will be able to guide you through their specific rules around closing or transferring accounts – and what this means for your situation.
Paying Insurance Bills
Upon notifying a Bank of a death, all regular direct debits and standing orders will be stopped. Insurance providers will not be aware of the death unless they are notified.
It is worth remembering that many insurance policies become void if payment is not received. This could be considered as a breach of contract. Therefore the sooner you contact each provider and discuss your situation; any continuation of services can be discussed. If you do need to continue with that insurance policy, discuss any changes to cover that may be needed and agree new payment plans to ensure cover remains in place.
If a property is to be sold, check with the existing insurance provider what the policy cover is for empty properties. Often there are requirements about how long a property can be left unoccupied before cover becomes invalid. Speak directly with the insurer, to notify them of the death and discuss any conditions required to ensure the insurance policy remains valid.
If the insurance cover can be ended, discuss any penalties for cancellation.
Enquire if any refunds are due if any advanced premiums were made. You will need to provide details for how to return any refunds to the Executor of the estate.
Ongoing Insurance cover
If you need to keep the cover in place, as you contact each provider, discuss your current cover requirements. These may have changed now so make sure you are properly covered and not over or under paying for premiums.
Use the opportunity to discuss your renewal options too. If you are due for renewal or auto-renewal, use comparison sites to make sure you are getting the most competitive deals.
Practical End of Life Planning
There are lots of practical tasks to deal with when someone dies. This can be very overwhelming whilst trying to grieve and deal with all of the legal, financial and personal issues at the same time.
Think about who would need to resolve your affairs if you were gone? Think of your family members that you may have to do this for one day? Do you know where all of their information is to help ease this process?
Create your Sunset Plan today and record all of this useful family and home life information in one place. Encourage your friends and family members to do the same and be death positive. Create your own practical End of Life Plan, to ease the process for others in the future.
Why not share this post on social media? Encourage your family and friends to get themselves organised for whatever the future may bring.