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How to notify insurance companies of a bereavement

Managing Accounts

Life, car and home insurance providers

Notifying the insurance companies that your loved one held policies with is one of the first tasks to complete in the administrative process. Most providers have a designated bereavement support customer service team who should explain the next steps to you once you’ve made the initial contact.

Who can do this?

In most cases, the insurance companies will need to speak to the executor of a will or the next-of-kin/administrator if your loved one died without leaving a will.

When to do this?

Ideally, you should notify insurers within a month of your loved one’s death once you have a death certificate.

Claiming life insurance

Step 1 – How to find out if your loved one had a life insurance policy

Firstly, check their will (if they had one), their bank statements, or ask their solicitor (if they had one). You can also visit the Unclaimed Asset Register, which is a database of thousands of life insurance policies, unclaimed pensions, shares, dividends, dormant savings accounts and lottery winnings. It costs £25 to run a search for a life policy. Access it here: uar.co.uk

Step 2 – Contacting the insurer

Contact the insurance provider to make them aware of your situation and to let them know you are going to make a claim. You will need:

  • Your loved one’s name, last address and date of birth
  • The policy number (found on the policy documents or a bank statement)
  • The cause and place of death
  • Medical reports from a doctor if you are claiming for a terminal illness
  • An original death certificate
  • Your contact details and relationship with the person who died

If you cannot find all this information, call them with what you do have.

Step 3 – After the initial contact

After the first contact about the claim, an assessor will let you know of any extra information or documents they need from you. They will probably ask for a copy of the death certificate, information from the doctor of the deceased, and/or legal documentation, depending on the type of policy and circumstances of the death.

Notifying their home insurance provider

Contact your loved one’s home insurance provider with the following information:

  • Your loved one’s name, last address and date of birth
  • A certified copy of their death certificate (if you have one at this stage)
  • The policy number
  • Your own proof of identity, for example, a valid driving license or passport

The insurer should then guide you through the next steps and advise you of any further details or documentation needed.

Notifying their car insurance provider

Contact your loved one’s car insurance provider with the following information:

  • Your loved one’s name, last address and date of birth
  • A certified copy of their death certificate (if you have one at this stage)
  • The policy number
  • The vehicle registration number
  • Your own proof of identity, for example, a valid driving license or passport

If you’re a named driver on the car insurance policy, check with the insurers whether you’re still covered. If you are not, you will need to get a new policy in place.

Watch out – most policies terminate on the death of the main policy holder and this will leave the car uninsured. Ideally, the car should be parked in private parking instead of on the road.

The provider should then guide you through the next steps and advise you of any further details or documentation needed.

Our advice for contacting insurers

  • Make sure you have your own personal details to hand if you are contacting the insurance provider over the phone
  • It might be worth thinking ahead of time about what you would like to do with the policy – for example, whether you want to cancel it or change it into a different name. There may be extra costs for this
  • Have a pen and paper to hand to make notes of the call and any important timeframes. Don’t be afraid to ask the company to confirm any changes or closing of accounts in writing