How do I find out if someone had life insurance?
The death of a loved one is never easy. There is a lot to manage while dealing with grief.
One of the tasks you may find yourself doing is trying to find out if your loved one has a life insurance policy. Life insurance may not be a topic that arises naturally among family members, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss it.
Life insurance companies won’t automatically know when an insured person has died. Don’t except a phone call from an insurer informing you someone had life insurance. Instead, you’ll have to do the research and pursue the benefits on your own.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
Fortunately, there are several ways to learn whether your loved ones purchased additional financial security for their loved ones. From paper trails and phone calls to digital and online searches, try these ideas to find out if your loved one who has recently passed has a term life insurance policy.
1. Gather your loved one’s bank statements. Read through them to see if any regular payments were being made to a life insurance company.
2. Go through the mail. Keep a close eye on the deceased’s mail for many months after their death. There may be policy premium notices, dividend notices, policy service notices or statements.
3. Look through storage areas. Check storage areas for evidence of life insurance, such as the policy itself or payment receipts. Storage areas could be filing cabinets and desk drawers.
Did your loved one had a safe or a safety deposit box? Check those as well. If you do not have access to the safety deposit box, you will need to bring the death certificate along with an executor’s testament to the bank. Spouses typically only need a death certificate and marriage certificate.
Questions? Talk with our experienced advisors.
4. Read through address books. Address books, whether they are paper or stored on a cell phone, may contain clues about their term life insurance policy, such as the phone number to a life insurance company or agent.
5. Contact your loved one’s financial professionals. If your loved one had an attorney, accountant, an investment or financial advisor, call them and ask if they know of any life insurance policies.
6. Check with your loved one’s employer. Contact your loved one’s employer for any group life coverage or other life insurance policies purchased through work.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
7. Review tax returns. Go through your loved one’s income tax returns from previous years to see if there are claims for interest earned on any life insurance policies.
8. Contact your state’s insurance department. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners website can help you find your state’s insurance office contact information. It’s a good place to start if you haven’t had luck elsewhere. Some states have online locator tools to search for missing life insurance policies as well.
9. Use online resources to help your search. Websites such as the NAIC, missingmoney.com and unclaimed.org allow users to search for unclaimed assets. The death benefit from a life insurance policy is considered an asset.
10. Pay a company to search for you. In addition to looking on your own, there are several companies out there who will search for a lost term life insurance policy on your behalf. A few popular companies are MIB and Policy Inspector.
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They will typically contact hundreds of life insurance companies to find out if your loved one had a policy. 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 then are never heard from again. Do your research before hiring a company.
Finally, if you have life insurance on yourself, tell your loved ones about the policy. Don’t force them to go through all these steps in an effort to track it down after you’re gone.
Life insurance protection for your loved ones is one of the most thoughtful financial products you can purchase, but what good is it if your beneficiaries don’t even know it exists?
Life insurance is more affordable than you think and can be a significant help for your family. Get term life insurance quotes to find the cost and coverage you may need, then have a conversation about it with your loved ones.
» Learn more: Talking to Your Family About Your Life Insurance
Watch the How to Find a Life Insurance Policy Video
Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions. Quotacy is an online life insurance agency where you can get life insurance on your terms.
I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha.
Today’s question is:
How can I find out if a deceased parent had a life insurance policy?
You will not believe how often we have people contacting us asking if their loved one had a life insurance policy. To those watching: if you’ve got a life insurance policy, please tell your family members about it. Life insurance companies don’t track obituaries.
If an insured person dies, the life insurance company won’t know until the beneficiary sends in a claims form.
Exactly. So, Jeanna, if you were to buy a life insurance policy on yourself and named Chad, your husband, the beneficiary, but don’t tell him about it, when you die, he’s not going to know to fill out the claims form. So he’s not going to get that death benefit you planned for him.
So for the people that don’t know if their loved one had a life insurance policy, let’s review some steps they can take to find out.
Not sure how much term life insurance you need?
Unfortunately this isn’t an easy process. You can’t just go onto Google, type in your loved one’s name with the word “life insurance policy” after to find out if they had a policy or not. And we don’t have access to any more information than you do. We get calls all the time asking “Did my grandmother have a life insurance policy?” And unfortunately, we don’t know. We can’t help. You’re going to have to do some research on your own.
The first thing you can do is talk to your loved one’s financial advisors, if they had any. This person should be able to tell you if there is an active life insurance policy.
The next step you could take would be to go through your loved one’s mail. If they had a life insurance policy, there could be policy statements in there. However, more and more life insurance companies are going digital, so this may not pan out. And when you’re looking through your loved one’s finances, check the bank statements to see if any payments were made to a life insurance company.
If you’ve still don’t find any evidence of a life insurance policy, you can contact your state’s insurance department and ask for assistance. Visit NAIC.org and you can find your state’s insurance department’s contact information.
While you’re there check out their free policy locator tool. If your loved one had a life insurance policy and you’re the beneficiary, the NAIC may be able to find the information and share it with you.
If none of these steps work, the next step to take would be to hire a service to look for the life insurance policy on your behalf. These services typically contact hundreds of life insurance companies to find out if your loved one had a life insurance policy. But keep in mind each company has different rates and limitations. So choose wisely. Some options are MIB.com and policyinspector.com.
But be aware that there are scammers out there who say they will help for an upfront cost and then are never heard from again. So be sure to do your research before hiring a service.
And keep in mind that your loved one may not have had a life insurance policy. So one may never turn up.
So if you have a life insurance policy, or a planning on buying one, don’t hide the fact from your family. Have a discussion about it. Death is not the easiest subject to talk about but it’s an important one.
It sure is.
If you have any questions about life insurance, leave us a comment. Otherwise tune in next week when we talk about how to safely store your life insurance policy. Bye!
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.