Death in service payment

On average, death in service is paid to your loved ones within 30 days but can be completed in as little as 2 weeks.

However, the length of time it takes for death in service to pay out will depend on the employer and individual situation.

The two major causes of delayed payment in the UK are missing paperwork and inquisition into death.

Keep reading to find out more about the death in service payment process…

What is death in service benefit?

Death in service is a benefit offered by employers to protect the loved ones of its staff if the worst were to happen to them during their working life at the company.

The pay out sum tends to be a multiple of their salary and doesn’t require death in the working environment for a successful claim.

If the worst were to happen, a lump sum pay out will be made to the loved ones of the member of staff and acts as a form of life insurance.

As discussed, the amount tends to rely upon the salary of the staff member, and therefore, may require additional personal life insurance to ensure adequate financial protection for your loved ones.

How much life insurance do you need?

Enter your financial commitments to understand the level of cover you require.


£121,687 is the estimated average outstanding mortgage per household in the UK.

Our property is generally the largest financial commitment any of us will make.

Your life insurance should cover this significant debt should you no longer be around.


According to Money Advice Service, full-time childcare in the UK now costs £242 a week.

The loss of a parent could result in the need for additional childcare whilst the surviving parent increases their hours to account for lost income.

Your life insurance cover should factor in this additional required outgoing.


The average level of debt (minus a mortgage) in the UK is £15,385.

Factoring in any outstanding debts in your name when arranging life insurance ensures this burden is not passed to loved ones.


You may wish to leave your loved ones an inheritance or lump sum gift upon your passing.

Factoring in the gift amount when arranging your cover will ensure the pay out amount will be sufficient to provide your loved ones with this selfless gesture.


According to SunLife, the average cost of a UK funeral is now £4,417, whilst the total cost of dying is £9,493.

This is a 130% increase over the past 16 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

A significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.


If you are one of the 65% of the UK who are lucky enough to have savings, this could be used as protection if you were to pass away.

Any pay outs from existing life insurance policies and investments can also be used as financial protection for your loved ones if you were no longer around.

Factor this into your required cover amount.

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Your total cover estimate

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Does everyone get death in service?

Whilst a commonly offered employee benefit in the UK, death in service is not compulsory and is not necessarily offered by all employers.

If provided, this will usually be detailed when you start the role and will be written into your contract.

Therefore, to determine whether or not you receive death in service, you should ask your employer or review your contract. This will also help determine the level of cover you receive.

Why death in service payment may be delayed

As discussed, a death in service payment can be made in as little as 2 weeks – But there are some instances where a claim may be delayed.

The most common of these reasons being missing paperwork and inquisition into death.

When joining a company providing death in service benefit, you'll be required to complete paperwork to detail who you wish to receive the pay out if the worst were to happen to you. This is known as a beneficiary.

If upon your death, this paperwork can't be uncovered, then a payment will be delayed whilst it's determined who the pay out should be made to – Most commonly your next of kin.

Secondly, a death in service pay out may be delayed if there's an inquisition into the death.

While the cause of death tends to be determined fairly easily postmortem, in certain instances further investigation may be required if the death was unexpected or looks suspicious.

In this instance, it's likely a death in service pay out will be delayed until the inquisition is complete.

Who gets death in service payment?

As mentioned, when joining a company offering death in service, you'll be required to complete paperwork to detail who you wish the payment to go to.

As long as this paperwork can be recovered (which is usually kept by HR), the pay out will be received by those you have detailed.

If no paperwork can be discovered, then it's likely the pay out will be passed to your next of kin.

Is death in service part of your estate?

For the most part, death in service benefits don't form part of your estate, meaning they're not subject to inheritance tax and your loved ones will receive 100% of the pay out.

The exception to this is when the benefit is paid to the estate as of right and your cover isn't written into trust through the relevant pensions scheme.

Is death in service part of your pension?

Whilst paid out in a lump sum as opposed to monthly, occasionally a company’s death in service benefit will be tied to a pension scheme.

Therefore, only employees who have opted into the relevant pension scheme will be eligible.

To determine whether or not you'll be eligible for death in service, you should consult with the relevant department at your company - most commonly HR.

Do I need life insurance?

Death in service is offered by many employers across the UK, but the pay out amount varies depending on your salary amount at the time of passing.

Whilst it's a great benefit, the pay out sum may not be sufficient to offer the future financial protection your loved ones need.

Furthermore, if you retire or change employers, your death in service benefit won't come with you. This could require you to obtain adequate personal life insurance at an older age when premiums will be more expensive, and you may have suffered health implications.

As a result, it's likely to be beneficial to have personal life insurance protection alongside any death in service benefit you're eligible for.

This won't only increase the amount your loved ones would receive but also ensure that you're still protected if you change jobs.

At Reassured, we can arrange life insurance cover from as little as 20p-a-day.

Simply get in touch with our award-winning team today for your no-obligation, free quotes.

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