Washington Life Insurance
- Life insurance coverage is governed by state-specific laws. Know what your rights are when you shop for a Washington life insurance policy and how to find help.
A good life insurance policy from a reputable company can protect your family's finances if you die, but knowing what coverage to choose can be confusing. Understanding your options is an important first step toward making smarter policy decisions, but you should also know your legal rights as a consumer. Let's take a closer look at Washington life insurance laws and how they may affect you.
Washington Life Insurance Rules and Specifics
In the United States, life insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis, and Washington's laws are defined in Title 48 of the Revised Code of Washington. The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner safeguards consumer rights by making sure companies adhere to Title 48 laws, which include protections such as a free look, continuing coverage if an issuing company fails and the right to a denial or cancellation reason.
All life insurance policies issued in Washington must include a free look period of at least 10 days, during which a policyholder may legally cancel coverage for any reason without penalty. To surrender their plan, consumers must either mail the policy back to the company or return it to the agent who brokered the deal, making sure to get a dated receipt. The company must issue a full refund within 30 days of the return date.
Continuing Coverage After Bankruptcy
Policyholders in Washington are protected against the loss of benefits if the company of issue fails. The Washington Life & Disability Insurance Guaranty Association provides continuing coverage for life insurance policies and annuities up to $500,000 per insured individual for lost death and annuity benefits and the cash surrender value.
The Right to Understand a Denial or Termination
If a Washington insurer denies, cancels or refuses to renew coverage, it must provide a specific reason using clear, simple language. For example, the company may not just state that the applicant doesn't meet underwriting standards, and the policyholder or applicant should not have to do additional research to understand the reason being given.
Life Insurance Resources in Washington
Whether you're policy shopping or filing a claim after a loved one's passing, questions or issues may arise. As the state's regulatory body, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner provides numerous consumer resources. Visitors to the site may:
- Learn about life insurance
- View state laws
- Live chat with an insurance advisor
- File a complaint against an insurer
- Check the status of a complaint
- Find an insurer's licensing or financial information
If life insurance benefits aren't claimed, they're eventually turned over to the state. If you think you may be due money from an unclaimed policy, you can visit the website for Washington State's Department of Revenue, which features an unclaimed property search. You may also search for information on lost policies through NAIC's lost policy locator service.