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Average Life Insurance Payout

If you have a life insurance policy, the death benefit or payout your beneficiaries can receive after you pass away will depend on several factors, such as the type of payout they choose. Let’s dive deeper into life insurance payouts and the average payout amount.

How life insurance payouts work

When you die, your beneficiaries will need to file a claim with your life insurance company. Upon approval, they can choose how they’d like to collect their life insurance payout, which is also known as the death benefit. While options vary by insurer, here are some common payout types:1

Lump-sum payout

With a lump-sum payout, your beneficiaries will receive the entire payout at one time. They’ll then have all the funds to use in any way they wish. This is typically the simplest and most popular option.

Installment payout

An installment payout is when the insurer will pay your beneficiaries a certain amount of money on a fixed schedule, which may be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Eventually, they’ll receive all the money they’re owed.

Specific income payout

The specific income payout is when the insurance company places the payout into a taxable, interest-bearing account. Then, the beneficiaries receive monthly or annual payments of an amount they choose.

Annuity payout

If they’d like, your beneficiaries can convert your life insurance policy to an annuity. With this option, they’ll receive guaranteed payments for the remainder of their life.

Retained asset account

A retained asset account works like a checking account for your beneficiaries. The insurer will hold the payout in an account that accrues interest, and they can write checks against it as they need to.

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What is the average life insurance payout?

Not all life insurance payouts are created equal, and may depend on several factors covered below. On average, however, a typical life insurance payout in the U.S. is about $168,000.2

How a life insurance payout is determined

These factors will help dictate your life insurance payout:

The policy’s face value

The face value of your policy is the dollar amount it’s worth, or the amount paid out to your beneficiaries when it expires.

Type of policy

The type of policy you have, whether it’s term life insurance or a permanent policy like whole life or universal life insurance, will play a role in your payout.

Cash value withdrawals

If you have a permanent life policy with a cash value component and choose to withdraw funds from it, the payout will be reduced.

Use of riders

Riders are optional features you can add on to life insurance for an additional cost. They can help cover events or situations your standard policy doesn’t and may impact the payout.

How long does it take to receive a life insurance payout?

Typically, life insurance companies pay out within 60 days of when they receive a death claim from the beneficiaries.3 These factors can all impact the timeline:

Payout method

A lump-sum payment, for example, will likely be easier and faster for a life insurance company to pay out than a specific income payout or retained asset account.

Providing the required documentation for the claim

If any documents, like a death certificate or police report, are missing or inaccurate when a claim is filed, the payout may be delayed.

Number of beneficiaries

In general, life insurance payouts that involve multiple beneficiaries take longer to receive than those with a single beneficiary.

Cause of death

Life insurance is intended to help cover death due to natural causes, like cancer or a heart attack. So, if the cause of death wasn’t natural, the payout process might take longer.

State laws

Each state has its own rules and regulations for life insurance payouts that may expedite or prolong the process.

Get a life insurance quote

Aflac offers term and whole life insurance that can help your beneficiaries receive financial protection in case you pass away. You may get approved for a policy quickly with no medical questions. Chat with an agent and get a quote today!

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