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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

Do life insurance companies require proof of health insurance of the beneficiaries?

No, the health of your life insurance beneficiary isn’t taken into account by the life insurance company, so proof of him or her having health insurance is unnecessary.

Let’s clear up what a beneficiary is.  The beneficiary is the person who is entitled to receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy if the insured person dies during the  policy period. 

The insured is the person who the life insurance policy is taken out on, and whose health is important to the life insurance provider.  (Read “Who’s who on a life insurance policy.”)

The person being insured will be asked to take a life insurance medical exam, unless the policy is a simplified issue or guaranteed issue policy.  The results of the medical exam help the life insurance company determine the life expectancy of the insured and, thus, the premium for the life insurance policy.

The beneficiary cannot be the insured, for obvious reasons -- the insured has to pass away for the beneficiary to receive the life policy benefits). Therefore, life insurance company isn’t concerned in the least about the beneficiary’s medical history or if he or she has health insurance.

The life insurance policyholder, meaning the person who owns the policy and pays the premiums, however, should think about the health of the beneficiary. 

If the beneficiary is sick or elderly, it’s prudent to name a contingent beneficiary. 

A secondary beneficiary is only entitled to the life insurance proceeds if the primary beneficiary passes away before the insured person.  

If the primary beneficiary has passed away, the insurer will send the check to the secondary beneficiary. 

If there is no secondary beneficiary, life insurance benefits normally go to the estate of the beneficiary named and the proceeds may not ultimately be go the individuals you would have chosen as the beneficiaries of your policy.

Last updated: Aug. 1, 2014