Better Business Bureau says it’s important to review funeral insurance policy carefully

Memphis, TN  — "It's been hard. He died suddenly," said Jasmine Hamlin. She is still dealing with the shock of losing her father unexpectedly March 16, 2019.

She says 62-year-old Michael Hamlin suffered a brain aneurysm and never recovered. "It took a toll on the whole family."

That shock was doubled when the family called Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage. It's the company her dad used to purchase funeral insurance in 2017. They say his policy was supposed to pay $5,000 at his death.

"He had two policies. They are contesting one of them. We only get $250 from the second one, and there is nothing they can do because he died too soon," Hamlin said.

On top of just $250, the family says they were floored by the comments they got from a customer service representative. "That's what you got yourself into.' We didn't appreciate that. That is not what you say to people who are grieving," Hamlin said.

She then went to social media and did her own poll to see if other people had similar experiences with Lincoln Heritage.

It turns out there were plenty of complaints. Customers were upset about delays in their policy pay-outs, others found out their coverage was much lower than expected. Some even complained about the rudeness of company agents.

WREG called Lincoln Heritage about the Hamlin case.

Keith Perkins, the senior vice president of the company, told us it was stated in the policy that if a person dies within two years of taking out the policy, they will get their premium payment back plus 110 percent. For the Hamlin's that $250. As for the $5,000 they are supposed to get for funeral expenses, he said the Hamlin's had not officially filed a claim.

"They have explained the first policy was taken out less than two years ago. Therefore it is a contestable policy. They have to verify the health information provided on the application," said Perkins.

He says as is standard with most insurance companies, once a death certificate is received and Michael Hamlin's health questionnaire is reviewed, they will decide what will be paid.

Lincoln Heritage ultimately decided to pay Michael Hamlin's benefit in full, with a little extra.

The Better Business Bureau's Nancy Crawford says what you are getting in most of these policies is whole life insurance, so read your contract to make sure you and your family are aware. "You have to provide documentation that the person has passed away in some instances. They may ask for health related information, the cause of death to see if the person had a pre-existing condition."

In the midst of their grief, the Hamlin's got one problem solved. They hope other family's don't have to endure the same pain.

"It just makes me sad to have to deal with that and know other people have dealt with it as well," said Hamlin.

Lincoln Heritage has 72 BBB complaints, the Better Business Bureau says that is really not much for a company their size that serves multiple states. Lincoln Heritage has an A-Plus rating with the BBB.

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