Navigating through the loss of a loved one is never easy. While battling difficult emotions and responsibilities, understanding the details of the deceased’s life insurance coverage can feel overwhelming.
Life insurance can be a vital tool, not only in managing funeral costs but also in providing financial stability at the time you need it most.
We understand how important it is to find out if there’s a life insurance policy and how to access its benefits.
This guide will help you find out if someone has life insurance.
5 Ways to Locate a Life Insurance Policy
If a loved one has life insurance and passes away, their policy can help those left behind immensely. Perhaps your loved one mentioned having a policy but never specified how to locate it.
Alternatively, they may not have communicated anything about a policy, leaving you uncertain whether one exists. Use the following steps to guide your search.
Check Personal Records & Belongings
The first step is to start looking through your loved one’s documents. You may stumble upon the policy itself or clues to find it. For example, look for notifications from insurance companies or premium payment receipts.
- Review their bank statements. Look for any recurring payments to a life insurance company.
- Monitor incoming mail. Watch for policy premium alerts, dividend notices, policy servicing correspondence, or statements—all of which could provide insights about an existing life insurance policy.
- Inspect storage spaces. Explore various storage areas for any evidence of life insurance, such as the actual policy or receipts of payments. Check filing cabinets, desk drawers, and safes. Did your loved one possess a safety deposit box? Check that too.
- Browse address books and contact lists. These records may offer valuable clues. They could include the contact information of a life insurance company or agent. Remember to check their mobile phone contact list.
- Examine tax returns. Review your loved one’s previous income tax returns for any indication of interest income from life insurance policies.
Contact the Deceased’s Financial Advisors
If you don’t find much by going through your loved one’s belongings, the next step is to contact any financial professionals they worked with. These individuals may know if a life insurance policy exists.
Besides financial professionals, reach out to the deceased’s close family members and friends. Your loved one may have discussed life insurance with a trusted confidant. This individual could provide valuable leads to find the insurance provider.
Use a Life Insurance Policy Locator
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a free policy locator tool to help identify lost life insurance policies. To use this service, you’re required to fill out a form that requests detailed information about the deceased, which includes:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Social Security Number (SSN)
Once submitted, the tool contacts multiple insurance companies on your behalf to check if your loved one has any policies with them. The insurance company will contact you directly if a policy is located, provided you’re the designated beneficiary or legally authorized to receive such information.
Other online resources that can help your search are missingmoney.com and unclaimed.org. These websites allow users to search for unclaimed assets, including the death benefit from a life insurance policy, which would be listed under the beneficiary’s name.
Apart from conducting a solo search, you could also hire professional services. Companies like MIB and Policy Inspector specialize in tracking lost policies. They will typically contact hundreds of life insurance companies to determine if your loved one had any. Each company has different limitations and rates, so choose wisely.
Be aware that there are scammers out there who will say they want to help you find unclaimed money for an up-front payment and are never heard from again. Do your research before hiring a company.
Contact the Insurance Company
If you know the name of the insurance company that issued the policy (or the agent who sold it), you can contact them directly to help find the policy you need. You’ll likely need to submit proof that you’re a beneficiary, like your driver’s license or SSN and the policyholder’s death certificate.
Contact Your State’s Unclaimed Property Office
Unclaimed life insurance proceeds are often transferred to the state’s unclaimed property office if the insurance company cannot contact beneficiaries.
To use this service, search your state’s unclaimed property office online. You’ll need to complete an online form on their website, supplying details such as the deceased person’s full name and your relationship with them.
If the search yields positive results, the office will provide you with instructions to claim the assets. You’ll likely need proof of your identity and legal right to claim the assets, such as a death certificate and proof of your relationship to the deceased.
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Who Can Access Life Insurance Policy Information?
Life insurance companies are very strict about privacy and confidentiality. You can’t just call in asking about people’s insurance policies, even if you’re related to the person.
Insurance companies will typically only release information to:
- Next of kin (such as a deceased spouse or child)
- Designated beneficiaries on the policy
- Estate executors and trustees overseeing the deceased’s estate
How to Claim Life Insurance Proceeds
Once you find a life insurance policy and learn you’re a beneficiary, filing a claim for the proceeds is a straightforward process.
- Prepare Documents: Collect a certified copy of the death certificate, the completed claim form, and the insurance policy information.
- Notify the Insurance Company: Reach out to the insurance company to report the policyholder’s passing.
- Await Claim Review: Life insurance companies typically have up to 30 days to review a claim, but most complete the process within a week or two.
- Receiving the Benefit: The insurer will mail a check in a lump-sum payment unless you specify otherwise.
Learn more about clauses and exclusions in life insurance policies that may impact death benefit claims.
FAQs About How to Find a Life Insurance Policy
Have more questions about life insurance policies and claims? Here we briefly answer some commonly asked questions.
Will the Insurance Company Contact Me if I’m a Beneficiary?
In most cases, no. Insurance companies don’t automatically know when their clients die. It’s up to the policy beneficiary to contact the insurance company to file a claim when someone dies.
How Do I Find Out if I’m a Beneficiary?
Searching through a loved one’s belongings to determine if they had a life insurance policy can be emotionally challenging for beneficiaries.
If you’re confident that a life insurance policy exists and you may be a named beneficiary, there are ways to verify your status. The most effective approach is directly contacting the insurer.
If you’re not sure what life insurance company holds the policy, you can submit a request to search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) database.
What Happens to Life Insurance Money if No One Claims It?
Life insurance companies typically turn over unclaimed death benefits to the state after a certain period of inactivity or unsuccessful attempts to contact beneficiaries. This period varies by state, but it generally ranges from 3 to 5 years.
Even then, beneficiaries can still file a claim for the money through the state’s unclaimed property program. There is no time limit on when a beneficiary can claim the benefits.
Get Unbiased Life Insurance Advice from Quotacy’s Experts
It’s unfortunate how many life insurance benefits go unclaimed. Although life insurance isn’t exactly a fun topic of conversation, it’s an extremely important one. If you have life insurance, talk to your family about it.
Haven’t secured a life insurance policy for your family yet? It’s never been simpler.
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