How can I find unclaimed life insurance policies? Is it also possible to have an unclaimed policy? You might be uncertain if a deceased loved one had an unclaimed life insurance policy, or you may be aware of its existence but unsure of its location or the steps to take.
This guide will walk you through the process of finding lost or unclaimed life insurance policies. It covers basic detective work you can do on your own, and there are also online tools designed specifically to help in this search.
What Is An Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy?
An unclaimed life insurance policy occurs when the policyholder passes away and the beneficiary doesn’t contact the insurer to claim the death benefit.
This situation often arises when the beneficiary is unaware of the policy, has forgotten about it, has incomplete information, or is unable to locate the policy.
If you’ve found out about the existence of a life insurance policy, there are specific steps to follow in an attempt to locate the unclaimed life insurance policy.
How To Find Unclaimed Life Insurance Policies
Life insurance is meant to assist your family after your passing. However, if a family member dies and you’re unaware of any life insurance policy or how to locate it, here are some methods to find unclaimed life insurance policies and prevent them from being forgotten in the first place.
Look Into Financial Documents, Personal Records, And Tax Papers
Begin by checking personal records such as files, safe deposit boxes, and address books. Look for the names of insurance agents, brokers, and financial advisers, and call them to inquire if they have records of any life insurance policies.
Review bank and credit card statements, as they may reveal premium payments made to a life insurance company. Don’t forget to examine the departed person’s IRS tax returns, as these documents, along with any supplementary filings, could disclose interest income from a permanent life insurance policy with cash value.
Keep in mind that income tax returns might also show the interest paid on loans if the deceased individual borrowed against their life insurance policy.
If possible, search through the deceased person’s mail and email for any notifications from the insurance company regarding policy status, dividends, or cash value. Additionally, contact the claims or customer service departments to identify the homeowners and car insurance companies your loved one used.
Consult With Previous Employers, Professional Organization
Expand the scope of your investigation by checking the deceased person’s employers and other professional connections. Look into the places where the policyholder had worked and find out if the employer offered a term life insurance or whole life insurance option that the deceased might have chosen.
Additionally, investigate whether the deceased was a member of a fraternal, professional group, or union that provided them with a life insurance policy.
Explore Companies Websites to Find Life Insurance Policies
Another option is to visit the websites of life insurance companies and see if they offer online tools for searching. Some large companies provide policy locators to help you determine if there is a life insurance policy in place.
Examples of life insurance companies with policy locators include John Hancock, MetLife, and New York Life.
Government, State, And Life Insurance Policy Locators
While conducting your investigation, the life insurance company may reach out to you. They often use the “Death Master” file from the Social Security Administration, which contains information about everyone who has passed away. The insurance company checks this list to compare it with their records.
Additionally, your state’s Unclaimed Property Office can be a valuable resource. If the insurance company is aware of the deceased policyholder but does not know the beneficiary, they must transfer the funds to the state. You can locate your state’s unclaimed property office and utilize a free tool from the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Even though there is no national database, you can try the NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator Service. To use it, you need to know basic information about the deceased, who may be the potential recipient of the funds.
Cover for Help to Locate Insurance Policies
Various online search services are available, but they may charge a fee to assist you in finding information. There is a national database that includes information provided when applying for life insurance in the U.S. and Canada.
If the deceased person applied for insurance after 1996, the MIB Group likely has a record of the insurance company they applied to. Obtaining this report typically costs $75.
File A Life Insurance Claim
Searching for a life insurance policy doesn’t guarantee receiving the death benefit, but you must be a named recipient. Additionally, it’s possible that you might not receive the entire payout as a named recipient.
Filing a life insurance claim as a recognized named recipient is straightforward if:
- The company is still in business.
- The insurance policy is still active.
- The person who passed away provided accurate information when they applied.
Typically, there are basic requirements to file a life insurance claim:
- The life insurance plan.
- A death certificate from the local health department.
- An application form for life insurance claims, which can be found on the company’s website.
When you’re looking for someone else’s life insurance policy, it’s a good reminder to organize your documents too.
Make sure to inform your beneficiaries and family where to find your life insurance papers. If you store them in a safe deposit box, ensure that others can access them when needed.
If you’re unsure whether someone named you as a beneficiary on their life insurance policy, there are online tools that can be used to find out easily.
In most cases, you may need to gather some documents and have a conversation with the deceased person’s family.