Valley man says funeral insurance is six feet under

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PHOENIX – Marco Villegas has wonderful thoughts when it comes to his mother, Dora.

"She liked to cook and take care of her grandkids," Marco said. "She was a very energetic person."

She was energetic and lively but since Dora was getting older, Marco decided it would be a good idea to purchase insurance that would cover funeral costs so he purchased a policy from a company called Lincoln Heritage.

"All the services involved with funerals, they cover it," Marco said as he recalled the commercial he saw. "100 percent, they claim."

But on a recent trip to Mexico, Marco's mom became sick. Although he and his family members thought she would eventually bounce back to good health, they were shocked when Mexican hospital officials broke the news. Dora had passed away unexpectedly.

"The doctors gave us an explanation what happened, why she died," Marco said. "And we say, 'it makes no sense.' And the guy says, 'I was shocked myself, too’."

While dealing with the funeral arrangements, Marco was somewhat relieved that he had bought that funeral insurance policy to help with the costs; or so he thought it would help.

"They're stating on that commercial that they pay in 24 hours and they pay super fast," Marco said. "And in our case, there is no such thing."

Lincoln Heritage refused to help right away because they have a clause in their policy that says they can withhold payment and investigate if the insured passes away within the first two years that the policy was issued. The investigation calls for reviewing medical records, medical records that Marco says are next to impossible to get from Mexico. And without those records, Lincoln Heritage isn't paying up.

"Right now, they are giving us the run around and they got the policy on hold, on dispute as they call it," Marco said.

3 On Your Side contacted Lincoln Heritage which acknowledged they're trying to obtain those medical records from Mexico. However, after our involvement, they went ahead and paid out the policy and sent Marco a check for $8,000.

"They, um, did mail us the check for the disputed amount and getting you guys involved in it made a big difference," Marco said. "Thank you very much."