How long does a life insurance company keep a death certificate?


Since multiple copies of the death certificate are now made available, most life insurance companies will keep a key document such as a death certificate indefinitely.

When a claim is made, the claimant or the beneficiaries are required to submit documents such as the insured person's death certificate. When the death of the insured person has been substantially proven and documented, that will be when the life insurance company will pay out the proceeds of the life insurance.

Even after the life insurance has paid out the claim, the death certificate will form part of their records. So that in case there is a dispute, or they have to review the case, they have the documentation. There is often a statutory period for complaints and disputes, but this varies from state to state and from country to country.

Some companies keep the original death certificate for a minimum period of 5 to 7 years. And, even when the original copy is returned to the relatives or the hard files are destroyed, the insurance company would usually keep an electronic copy in their files. The death certificate will show that there is sufficient documentation and investigation towards the death of the insured and that the insurance company was justified in paying the claim.

In most cases, the life insurance company will just hold on to the document until you request to have it back. However, since you can get original copies of the death certificate anyway, there may be no need for you to get this back.

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