If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you might be wondering how to manage their final expenses. Life insurance can help with this by providing money via the death benefit to pay for funeral or burial expenses, final healthcare costs, outstanding debts, and even leave an inheritance behind.
But what do you do if you’re unsure about an insurance policy for a recently departed family member? How do you find out if a deceased person had life insurance? We have some tips for how to locate a lost life insurance policy.
Ways to Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy
The methods of finding life insurance can be as involved as rummaging through filing cabinets and storage areas to contacting state officials or a life insurance company. There’s a good chance that if your loved one had a life insurance policy, the following life insurance policy search process can help you find it and file your claim for the death benefit.
1. Search the unclaimed life insurance database.
One of the most basic ways to check for a life insurance policy is to use the NAIC’s life insurance policy locator tool. This life insurance locator tool requests that participating companies look through their records for life insurance policies or annuities in the name of the deceased. If you are the designated beneficiary, the NAIC instructs companies to contact you with their findings.
2. Look for a physical copy of the life insurance policy.
While the NAIC goes through its process, you might also want to do your own life insurance search. Look through filing cabinets and storage areas in the home of your loved one. In some cases, you’ll find the original paperwork for the insurance policy, paid premium notices or another paper trail to give you more information.
The life insurance policy paperwork will include a policy number, contact information for the insurance company and details on the coverage amount and insurance term length, if applicable.
3. Search for digital files.
If your loved one made a habit of scanning documents, you can search their computer or email inbox for information related to their life insurance policy. Note this information might be stored on thumb drives or other external hard drive devices. In addition to communication from the insurance company, your loved one’s email might also contain bank statements, credit card statements or other documentation that could reveal paid premiums and give you an idea of where to look next for the actual life insurance policy.
4. Contact the life insurance company.
Once you know what life insurance company (or carrier) your loved one had a policy with, you will need to contact the company and cancel the policy. In many cases, an insurance company is only made aware that a policyholder has died because they receive a claim form. The carrier can also mail you copies of the policy documents if your records are incomplete.
5. Contact the deceased’s financial advisor.
If the deceased worked with a financial advisor to handle trusts, investments, wealth management and insurance, you should reach out to the company or agent to determine the existence of a life insurance policy. Some financial advisors also sell insurance, so they may be able to help you locate documentation regarding any outstanding life insurance policies.
What happens if a life insurance policy goes unclaimed?
Unclaimed life insurance benefits are a rare problem, but there are a couple of things that happen if a policy goes unclaimed. Insurance companies usually rely on beneficiaries to find out that someone has died, but companies will also regularly check a database provided by the Social Security Administration called the Master Death List against their records.
If they discover a policyholder has recently died, they’ll work to send claim forms to the most recently listed beneficiary. If none can be found, they will usually forward the policy amounts to the state treasurer or unclaimed property administrators for that beneficiary or policyholder’s most recent state of residence.
In many cases, benefits can be found by searching that state’s database of unclaimed property. An interested party can make a claim on those funds, usually by providing a valid ID and a certified death certificate.
SelectQuote can help you understand your life insurance policy.
One of the best ways to avoid life insurance confusion is to shop for life insurance with someone who can help guide you through the whole process and ensure the details of your policy are communicated to the beneficiaries. At SelectQuote, our team of licensed insurance agents can help you by comparing rates from several trusted life insurance carriers at once, finding a policy that works for you and your budget.
Eliminate future issues with your insurance policy’s death benefits. Let SelectQuote help you save time and money. Get started on your free life insurance quote today.