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A family’s easy guide to claiming from your life insurance policies

Its all Insurance

Posted on Friday, September 3, 2021

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So you know you can’t afford to go without life insurance and other related policies like Funeral Cover. And you take out these policies to help your family cope with financial commitments if you pass away or are unable to continue working and providing for them. But all of that planning can go to waste if they don’t know how to claim from these policies when the time comes.

In fact, there are billions of Rands in unclaimed benefits in South Africa from numerous policies, including life insurance. That’s why it’s so important that they know what to do – ‘cos they can’t afford not to.

To make it easier, we’ve put together this simple guide on how to claim. Take a look:

  1. Give your family and other beneficiaries a list of your policies and what’s covered

Knowledge really is power. If your families don’t know what policies you have, they won’t know where to claim. So, to avoid that headache and hassle, tell them about all the policies you have, such as:

  • Life cover
  • Funeral insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Dread disease insurance
  • Group benefits with employer
  • Pension funds and retirement annuities
  • Investments
  • Medical cover

Tell them what each policy covers (e.g. death or a critical illness) so that they know when to claim and from which policy.

Generally families only need to claim on a Life or funeral policy. But there are other instances that may require them to claim e.g. if you are critically ill or unconscious and can’t make a claim yourself on a disability or dread disease policy.

Helpful tip: Tell your family about any exclusions or waiting periods on your policy, which you can find on your policy schedule.


  1. Where you keep your policies – make sure they know

Whether they’re saved in hard copy, in the cloud, or anywhere else, ensure that all relevant parties know exactly where they are and if you change where you keep these, let your family, beneficiaries and attorney or adviser know. If documents are saved digitally, ensure that they have access rights to these files.

Helpful tip: Complete a claims ‘cheat sheet’ for each policy
This should include the policy number, contact details for the relevant claims department and other important details.

  1. Explain the claims process

To help save time, ensure the right person lodges the claims. Here’s a list of who should claim on which policy:

  • Life policy: The beneficiaries named in the policy
  • Funeral policy: The beneficiary named if the principal member (e.g. you) passes on, or the principal member if an additional member passes away
  • Disability and Dread disease policies: The life assured (e.g. you) or a family member if the life assured is unable to

Our Claims Team will be there to assist your family every step of the way. It’s still a good idea though to prepare some of the documents and details e.g. original or certified copies of your ID. If the claim is due to be paid to a beneficiary, we’ll also need their bank account and ID number.

Some documents will depend on the specific claim e.g. doctors’ and specialists’ reports – and we’ll inform them if these are needed, and do our best to keep paperwork to a minimum.

  1. Share your reasons for taking out the policies and how you want the money from a claim to be spent

Everyone’s reasons are different. You may take a life policy so that your bond will be paid off or your kids’ education will be covered. You may even want the payout to be invested for an income.

When it comes to funeral costs, these can be really expensive. So, it’s a good idea to tell them how you’d like your funeral policy payout to be used, to avoid overspending.

  1. Update them on any policy changes

What you want from your policies may change over time. You may decide to increase your cover, add or remove a beneficiary or take out an additional benefit like disability cover. Keep your family and beneficiaries updated so they know who can claim, and under what circumstances.

  1. Set up an annual check-in


Once a year, go through the checklist above with your family and beneficiaries to refresh everyone’s memory and go through any changes you may have forgotten to share.

Ticking off this checklist will give you the peace of mind you need, knowing that should anything happen, you and your family will be covered.