Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Issues of Death

21 July 2004

So it turns out that if you die at home and aren’t on a priority for an autopsy, it can take 2-6 months (!) to get the lab results for your cause of death.

Why does this matter? Because insurance won’t pay out until a cause of death is determined. At least, in the case of one of the people I know who died recently, this is the issue. It doesn’t even matter if it’s “heart attack or stroke,” insurance companies need to know specifics.

I can’t really blame them, but then the point becomes: should you drop dead suddenly, have some way of supporting your family in the meantime that doesn’t rely on insurance or probate, both of which can be quite slow.

Now, for my late husband, who died in a hospital (and had organ donations pending on being declared properly dead), I was able to pick up his death certificate within two weeks. Had he had insurance, it would have paid out very quickly thereafter. But, I find out, that’s not necessarily the norm.

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

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