Background Despite the increased access to facility-based delivery in Indonesia, the country's maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. Reducing maternal mortality requires a good understanding of the care-seeking pathways for maternal complications, especially with the government moving toward universal health coverage. This study examined care-seeking practices and health insurance in instances of pregnancy-related deaths in Jember District, East Java, Indonesia. Methods This was a community-based cross-sectional study to identify all pregnancy-related deaths in the district from January 2017 to December 2018. Follow-up verbal and social autopsy interviews were conducted to collect information on care-seeking behavior, health insurance, causes of death, and other factors. Findings Among 103 pregnancy-related deaths, 40% occurred after 24 hours postpartum, 36% during delivery or within the first 24 hours postpartum, and 24% occurred while pregnant. The leading causes of deaths were hemorrhage (38.8%), pregnancy-induced hypertension (20.4%), and sepsis (16.5%). Most deaths occurred in health facilities (81.6%), primarily hospitals (74.8%). Nearly all the deceased sought care from a formal health provider during their fatal illness (93.2%). Seeking any care from an informal provider during the fatal illness was more likely among women who died after 24 hours postpartum (41.0%, OR 7.4, 95% CI 1.9, 28.5, p = 0.049) or during pregnancy (29.2%, OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.0, 19.2, p = 0.003) than among those who died during delivery or within 24 hours postpartum (8.6%). There was no difference in care-seeking patterns between insured and uninsured groups. Conclusions The fact that women sought care and reached health facilities regardless of their insurance status provides opportunities to prevent deaths by ensuring that every woman receives timely and quality care. Accordingly, the increasing demand should be met with balanced readiness of both primary care and hospitals to provide quality care, supported by an effective referral system.