05 Jan 11 Steps to Locate a Lost Life Insurance Policy
Thousands of life insurance policies go unclaimed each year due to loss of life. Finding lost documents is no easy task. It can be even more challenging when a loved one or family member of the deceased searches for the life insurance policy on their behalf. However, if you are careful and pay attention, you can complete your search.
The person insured is usually the one paying the premiums, so losing a life insurance policy can leave heirs unaware of the coverage amount and unsure of how to collect returns from the policy.
Find out how to locate a lost term life insurance policy by following these 11 steps.
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1. Look for Life Insurance Documents
Usually, people organize their important documents together. In this case, you should search for the life insurance policy where the deceased stored all of their insurance-related documents.
You can also check files, safe deposit boxes, and other storage areas to see if documents related to insurance are present. Additionally, check any address books to see if insurance professionals or companies know anything regarding the deceased’s life insurance policies. For example, an agent who handles home or auto insurance might know when a life insurance policy was sold.
2. Contact Financial Advisors
If you are trying to locate an unclaimed life insurance policy, you should contact the deceased’s financial advisor or prior attorneys. Additionally, you can talk to the office accountant and the life insurance agent or broker. One of these professionals might provide insight into the deceased’s life insurance policies.
After locating the insurance company’s details, the customer support team or claim department can assist you. If you don’t have a policy number, be sure to have other personal information about the policyholder, such as an address, birth date, and telephone number, for the insurance company to assist you.
3. Search the MIB (Management Information Base) Database
The policy documents for individual life insurance are not centrally stored. However, a database of all applications for this type of insurance has been available since January 1, 1996. (Note that there is a fee for each search and many searches are unsuccessful; on average, only one match is found out of four attempts.) For more information, see MIB’s Consumer Protection page.
There is a chance that you will find a record of the deceased’s life insurance policy in a government database if they took the policy from a nationally recognized company.
4. Check With Your State’s Unclaimed Property Office
If the insured died without a beneficiary, a life insurance company must transfer the death benefit to the state that purchased the policy. The state comptroller’s office may have unclaimed funds from life insurance policies bought by the deceased. If you know where the policy was purchased, contact them. If you are looking for unclaimed property, start contacting the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
5. Contact Previous Employers
You can locate a lost life insurance policy by contacting the deceased’s former employers.
In most cases, former employers maintain records of past group policies. The previous employer holds all records of the deceased’s group life insurance plan, meaning that you can obtain a copy of the deceased’s policy from them.
6. Check Bank Records for Insurance Payments
When purchasing a policy, most people pay their life insurance premium installments through their bank. As a result, likely, the bank statement containing the money the deceased policyholder paid over the years will include information about how much was paid.
Also, you can search for information about the insurer, such as the insurer’s name, policy type, and more. Finding lost life insurance policies is made more accessible by the information in a bank statement.
7. Review Tax Returns
You can also find lost life insurance policies by checking the deceased’s tax returns from the previous two years. Ensure that life insurance companies have received or incurred any interest, income, or costs. A life insurance company pays interest on the accumulations in permanent policies and charges interest on the loans made under a permanent policy. The maturity amount can easily be calculated with this information.
8. Review Life Insurance Applications
The life insurance application that the individual made before purchasing a life insurance policy may help you identify the policy. Keeping the original life insurance policy and the policy application is good practice.
If you are searching for an application, it would be beneficial to locate the insurance company. However, even if you do not obtain the policy, you can still find important information to claim the life insurance amount.
Each policy requires an application. The application will have a list of any other life insurance policies owned by the deceased at the time of the application.
9. Contact Your State’s Insurance Department
All life insurance policy sales records are kept by the state insurance department, a regulatory body. If you want to get details of the lost policy, you can write to the state insurance department.
The insurance departments of twenty-nine states offer free search services for residents looking for lost policies. Additionally, a “Life Insurance Company Location System” is provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to identify state insurance department officials who can assist in identifying companies who have written life insurance policies on the deceased. Visit the NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator to use this service.
10. Hire a Private Search Service
Several private companies will assist you in searching for a lost life insurance policy. Insurance companies are contacted on your behalf to see if the deceased was insured. Many of these types of services are often provided through websites.
A search agency can assist you in locating a lost life insurance policy if you cannot find it on your own, making it easier for you to apply for a claim with the insurance company.
11. Contact Unions and Associations
Many professional and social organizations, such as trade unions, alumni associations, and veterans’ associations, offer group life insurance to their members. Contact your loved one’s insurance company to see if there is a life insurance policy for one or more of these groups.
Using these 11 steps, you can locate a lost life insurance policy.