Life insurance claims are usually straightforward. Your spouse or child passes away, and you cash in on the policy taken out on his/her life. At least, that is the typical way of doing things. However, if the body of the person in question cannot be found, a death certificate cannot be issued. Without the death certificate, most life insurance companies will not settle your claim. Here is what you need to do next.
Hire a Lawyer
Lawyers that handle life insurance claims can help. They can provide whatever alternative documentation necessary to the life insurance company to help get your claim through. Speeding up the process is unlikely unless a body does turn up and you can get the coroner to provide a death certificate. However, different states provide for such unusual circumstances, and they build it right into the life insurance law.
Your lawyer will know exactly what these laws governing unusual circumstances are. He or she will work with the insurance company. Do not try to navigate this on your own, since only a lawyer can mitigate these atypical cases.
Get Police Investigation Documentation
When a body goes missing, foul play is usually suspect. This is especially true in the case of a child. However, people with enough money can hide in plain sight, cover their tracks, and create fake identities and fake passports. These are some of the biggest reasons why life insurance companies are reluctant to settle on policies without a body. Faking one's death and disappearing from sight have been used to defraud insurance companies before, and not just in the movies.
Hence, you will need to get police investigation reports and documentation that excludes you as a suspect. (Insurance companies will avoid paying out on a claim like this if you are still on the police radar for a possible homicide.) Also, get any reports that suggest that the police suspect that the person in question is deceased. In child abduction cases, police use the 72-hour rule before assuming that a child is dead and unlikely to be found alive. If the police close their case without finding a body, use that report as well. Give all of these reports to your lawyer, or have your lawyer get them from the police.
A Court Hearing May Be Necessary
In some states, you may need to go before a county judge to have the missing person pronounced dead. The judge looks at all of the available evidence to determine the possibility of life and death. His or her ruling is needed to show the life insurance company that the claim is valid and should be paid.