MUMBAI: Many people go missing every year in cyclones, incessant rains, cloud bursts and landslides. Claiming insurance for a missing person can be slightly tricky as it is uncertain whether the person is dead or alive.
If the missing person is the breadwinner and has a life insurance policy, the family can get financial support by claiming life insurance. But how does one go about ‘declaring’ a missing person dead to initiate a life insurance claim?
A family submits the death certification with other documents to claim the insurance amount in the usual process. But in the case of a missing person, there is no death certificate. However, there’s a law where a missing person can be presumed dead.
According to the Indian Evidence Act, Section 108, presumptions of death can be made after seven years of filing the FIR (first information report). To claim life insurance of a missing person, the family must wait for seven years before the insurance company can give them the claim money.
Once a person goes missing, the family members need to pay the premium and continue the policy else the policy could lapse, especially a term plan.
The family will first need to obtain a death certificate. Then, approach the court. The court will release the order to the insurance company. Along with the court order, the legal heirs will also need to submit a copy of the FIR and a non-traceable report by the police.
Sometimes the insurance company can settle a claim for a missing person before seven years. If there’s a reasonable proof of loss and there are clear circumstances for the incident of death. However, in the case of natural calamities, insurance would not settle claims as there’s no incidental proof of death.
Since there is no incidental proof of the loss for missing cases due to natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, drought, etc .; it becomes very difficult to release the claims before seven years. But if the government releases a list of missing persons assumed dead, the insurance company would pay the claim without waiting for seven years.
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