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If you're a resident of Cleveland, OH, you may be wondering what the state's laws are regarding life insurance. Here's a quick overview of the key points you should know.
In Cleveland, OH, life insurance is regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance. The department has authority to oversee all insurance companies doing business in the state, including those that sell life insurance policies.
The department has consumer protection rules in place that apply to all life insurance policies sold in Ohio. For example, insurers must provide customers with a free copy of their policy upon request, and they must give policyholders at least 30 days' notice before changing any terms or conditions in the policy.
In addition, Ohio law requires insurers to pay death benefits to beneficiaries within 30 days of receiving proof of death. If an insurer fails to do so, it may be subject to liquidated damages of up to 10% of the amount due, plus interest.
Ohio law also has specific rules regarding life insurance policies that are part of an employee benefits package. For example, if an employer cancels or reduces its life insurance coverage for employees, it must provide at least 60 days' notice in writing to affected employees.
If you have any questions about life insurance laws in Cleveland, OH, or if you need help filing a claim, contact the Ohio Department of Insurance. The department's consumer hotline is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at (800)686-1526.
Ohio law distinguishes between two types of life insurance policies: term life insurance and whole life insurance.
Term life insurance is temporary coverage that pays a death benefit only if the policyholder dies during the specified “term” of the policy. The most common terms are 10, 20, or 30 years. Term life insurance policies do not build up cash value over time.
Whole life insurance, on the other hand, is permanent coverage that remains in force for the policyholder's entire lifetime, as long as premiums are paid. Whole life policies also build up cash value over time, which the policyholder can borrow against or withdraw tax-free.
In Ohio, most life insurance policies are “convertible” policies, which means the policyholder can convert a term life policy to a whole life policy at some point during the term, without having to undergo a new medical exam.
Ohio law also requires insurers to offer “non-forfeiture” options to policyholders who stop paying premiums on their life insurance policies. These options allow the policyholder to keep some level of coverage, even if they can no longer afford the full premium.
In Ohio, you can name anyone you want as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, including your spouse, children, parents, or other relatives. You can also name your estate as the beneficiary, which may be helpful if you're trying to minimize estate taxes.
If you name multiple beneficiaries, Ohio law requires insurers to pay them in equal shares, unless you specify otherwise in the policy.
If you die without naming a beneficiary, or if all of your named beneficiaries predecease you, your life insurance policy will pay out to your estate.
Ohio law also allows you to change your beneficiaries at any time, simply by contacting your life insurance company and requesting a change.
Ohio law requires insurers to offer both “medically underwritten” and “no medical exam” life insurance policies.
Medically underwritten policies require the applicant to undergo a medical exam, in order to determine their risk level and insurance premiums. No medical exam policies do not require a medical exam, but they typically have higher premiums than medically underwritten policies.
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The materials on this website have been created for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. The law changes frequently and the information may not be complete or correct depending on a number of factors.