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 expect 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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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