How to make a life insurance claim

Matthew Lang

Matthew Lang

Updated 15/05/2023

Depending on the type of cover, you'll also need a copy of the death certificate and an attending medical practitioners report. Find out more.

How to make a life insurance claim

How do you make a life insurance claim?


  • Most life insurance claims sail through with prompt settlements which is reassuring to hear.

  • But traumas such as serious injury or the death of a loved one can leave you floundering and in need of practical help.

These are difficult times.

The good news is that where there's a life insurance policy, there's likely to be lots of support.

This guide will give you the tools you need to make a claim so that you have enough space to manage your emotions.

Here's how to claim on a life insurance policy.

Key Points

  • Organise your documents in a folder. First, you'll need the cover type and policy number. Depending on the type of cover, you'll also need a copy of the death certificate and/or an attending medical practitioners report.

  • Read the policy documents so that you understand why you're claiming and what you can expect in terms of compensation.

  • Grab a notebook or open a file. This will allow you to keep a record by writing down when you called to make a claim, who you spoke to and details of the conversations.

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Types of life cover

Circumstances and types of cover are going to dictate how to make a claim.

If your loved one had term life cover, you'll want to claim a lump sum in the event of their death.

As for the other types of living life insurance, you can claim:

  1. Total and Permanent Disability Insurance (TPD) which pays you a lump sum if you find you can't work again due to a lasting disability.

  2. Trauma insurance. This pays out a lump sum if you can't work because of a serious injury or illness.

  3. Income protection insurance. This is an ongoing payment that replaces up to 70% of lost income should you be unable to work because of an injury or illness for a while.

Income Protection

Income Protection

How to claim on a life insurance policy in the case of death

Not all types of life insurance policies are the same.

Procedures will vary between different insurers as well.

As a general rule, you can expect the following steps in the claims process.

Documents you are likely to need

  • A completed claim form from your selected insurer.

  • The original policy document and policy schedule

  • A death certificate in cases of term life cover, Medical Attendant's Certificate or another document showing evidence of death.

  • A certified copy of evidence of the deceased's date of birth eg: birth certificate, valid driver's licence or passport

  • A certified copy of proof of the claimant's identity eg: birth certificate, valid driver's licence or passport, and their relationship to the insured.

Information you will need to supply

For claims related to disability, illness or injury as opposed to term life cover, gather up all the facts that your insurer is likely to ask for.

Be prepared. This can be time-consuming and may require careful research.

The information you'll need is likely to include the following:

  • When, where and how your disability, injury or illness occurred

  • Your employment and medical history

  • The contact details of any doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors or other medical staff you've consulted

  • Evidence of when you received any treatment in hospital or elsewhere

  • A description of how your disability, injury or illness has prevented you from carrying out your job

  • Evidence of your salary when you were last able to work

  • Details of any occupations or activities you could still carry out

Certified copies explained

Certified copies are photocopies of an original document signed by an official.

A doctor, solicitor, bank manager, police officer or Justice of the Peace can act as a signatory.

You will be able to send off or give the certified copy to a third party and keep the original.

Is there a time limit on making a life insurance claim?

There's no statutory time limit for making a claim.

However, there is a typical six-year limitation period applicable to all contract claims across Australia, the only exception being the Northern Territory where there is a three-year limitation period.

Individual insurance contracts can specify a time limit and these can vary.

It's always best to inform your insurer that you intend to file a claim as soon as you can.

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How long do life insurance claims take to process?

It's in everyone's interests for the process to be quick.

Claimants are often in urgent need of cash.

Insurers want satisfied customers.

They also want to avoid high interest charges for delaying the payment of claims.

Most insurers settle in a matter of days or weeks.

Things can get complicated if a person failed to disclose their medical history in full.

It's also important to keep across premium payments.

If they're missed, a policy may become invalid.

Most policies have exclusions.

These can include death as a result of suicide or serious injury due to some form of illegal activity.

When an insurer suspects fraud or non-disclosures, even inadvertent ones, the whole claim process can grind to a halt.

Be prepared

One of the best things you can do when making a claim is to get your paperwork in order.

Claims can be the result of an unwanted or unexpected serious event.

Organising forms and certificates can be a welcome distraction and bring back a sense of control.

Remember, we can help direct you to those who'll be able to process your claim.

Get in touch with us today for more information.

List of insurers claim forms:

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This guide is of an informative nature only and not representative of Compare Club products. It should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

Matthew Lang is the general manager of life insurance at Compare Club. Matthew leads a team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their life insurance needs. Whether it's finding the right coverage for your specific circumstances, comparing policies, or optimizing your existing policy, Matthew and his team are here to provide expert guidance and support.

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Matthew Lang

General Manager of Life Insurance