West Virginia Life Insurance
- Finding and buying the right life insurance can be overwhelming. Learn how West Virginia life insurance plans are regulated and what that means for consumers.
In 2020, approximately 849,000 individual life insurance policies provided financial protection to West Virginia consumers. Whether you're considering the merits of a policy purchase or assessing your current coverage, it may be helpful to understand what types of plans are available, your rights as a policyholder and who regulates the industry in your state. Here's what you should know about life insurance in West Virginia.
West Virginia Life Insurance Rules and Specifics
Consumers have rights and responsibilities under Chapter 33 of the West Virginia Code, which outlines state insurance laws. As the industry's regulatory body, the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner is responsible for enforcing these laws and responding to consumer complaints.
Consumers should know about several important provisions in Chapter 33, including:
- The incontestability statute. Life insurance policies issued in West Virginia are considered incontestable once they've been in force for two years, as long as premiums are current. This provision doesn't extend to disability or AD&D benefits.
- The mandated grace period. After missing a premium payment, policyholders have up to 31 days to bring their account current. If the insured individual dies during this time, beneficiaries are entitled to the contractual benefit. However, the issuing company may subtract the overdue premium from the benefit payout.
- The misstatement of age provision. If an applicant misstates their age on an application for a policy that uses age to determine premiums, the company may adjust the coverage to reflect the amount the premium payments would have purchased at the applicable age.
- The timely payment of claims rule. After a claimant submits proof of death, the company must settle the claim within two months of receipt. Insurers have the right to require a claimant to submit proof of interest and/or to surrender the policy.
Life Insurance Resources in West Virginia
Life insurance can be tricky to navigate, so it's important for consumers to have someplace to turn when they need help. Applicants, current policyholders and beneficiaries in West Virginia may reach out to the following resources:
- West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner's Consumer Services Division: This branch serves as liaison between consumers and insurers. Consumers may visit their website to learn more about life insurance, file a complaint or link to NAIC's policy locator service.
- West Virginia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association: Consumers at risk of losing benefits due to a company's insolvency should reach out to the state's guaranty association. The association provides continuing coverage up to state limits if an insurer can no longer fulfill its contracts.
- West Virginia State Treasurer: When a policy's beneficiary can't be located, the money is eventually turned over to the state. If you think there may be unclaimed property in your name, you may conduct an online search and submit a claim through the state treasurer's office.