according to a consumer reports study, 1 in 600 people is the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy with an average benefit of $2,000. Although life insurance companies conduct a proactive search for beneficiaries, they are not always successful. If you think you may be the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy, there are ways to track it down yourself without waiting for the insurance company.
While it may take some detective work and time to do the research, finding an unclaimed life insurance policy could be well worth the time and expense. If you have your own life insurance policy, make it easier for life insurance companies to find your beneficiary by providing as much identifying information as possible, such as the beneficiary’s date of birth, full legal names, and insurance number social.
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how to find an unclaimed life insurance policy
Many people take the time to set up life insurance policies to make sure their loved ones are well cared for after they pass away, in which case a common question might be, “how do I know if I’m a beneficiary of a life insurance?” life insurance policy? ?” If you suspect that a deceased relative may have purchased a policy and named you as beneficiary, try these steps to conduct a search for unclaimed or lost life insurance policies. You’ll need your relative’s full legal name, and it’s helpful to have their date of birth, social security number, and any previous addresses. Follow these steps to maximize your chances of finding an unclaimed life insurance policy.
find insurance policy paperwork
You may be able to find insurance policy documentation, including premium payment receipts or bank statements showing automatic deduction, more easily if the person recently passed away. Also check address books or electronic devices (if you have access) for any insurance-related transactions or communications.
If you are the executor of the decedent’s estate, check any safe deposit boxes and review all personnel files. You can also visit the decedent’s bank to request paper statements if you have a power of attorney. this will allow you to find out who the premiums were paid to if you don’t have access to your account online.
go to the locator of missing policies
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life Insurance Policy Locator Service and similar services allow consumers who believe they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy to submit a life insurance policy search by name and request that insurers verify your records. these systems can serve as an unclaimed life insurance database for people who need a starting point for retrieving policy information.
find the insurance company
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If you find evidence of a policy and can identify the insurance company, most of your work is done. Beneficiaries who cannot locate the insurance company listed on a policy should contact their state insurance department.
In the meantime, if you have the insurance company, follow their steps to file a claim. As long as you provide all the information and the insurance company approves your claim, the company will usually provide payment in a timely manner.
make sure you’re searching in the correct state
You need to know where the policy was purchased. the state where the decedent died may not be the same state where he purchased the life insurance policy. Check any previous state the person lived in to find an unclaimed life insurance policy.
If the insurance company went out of business, the state insurance commissioner must have records of what happened to the policies.
check with rating services
If you found insurance paperwork, but can’t seem to find the insurance company to track down an unclaimed life insurance policy, you may want to check with rating services to find it. An insurance rating agency, like am best, may be able to help you keep track of insurers, including those that no longer exist.
look for a financial connection
A financial connection would be a professional managing your relative’s finances. It could be an accountant, a financial planner, or an insurance agent. A professional working in financial services is likely to be aware of a life insurance policy and may even have a copy to prove that you are the beneficiary and provide the details of the policy. You may need to provide information to verify your identity or prove that you are the executor or have power of attorney for the decedent before the financial professional will release the information.
find unclaimed property files
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missingmoney.com, a database supported by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Managers, allows you to search for unclaimed property in most states. To start the search, all you need is the name, city, and state where the decedent lived, and you can search online.
contact the decedent’s former employers
Most life insurance policies purchased through employers are term policies that provide coverage only during the time of employment, but sometimes a person will continue the policy after leaving the company. You may want to check with previous employers, unions, or professional associations to see which company they had life insurance with so you can contact the insurer directly.
Many companies don’t provide specific information related to employees other than when they worked there and their title, so asking what life insurance company they use is one way to avoid this.
pay for a mib database lookup
mib (which once stood for medical information bureau) is a cooperative database created by life insurance companies to keep track of insurance applications. Although a mib database search costs $75, it can be money well spent if you are certain that an unclaimed life insurance policy exists.
Meanwhile, once you find the insurance company, contact them to see if the policy is still active. If so, the insurer has steps she can take to file a claim. It is vital to follow these instructions to the letter, as doing so will reduce the chances of your claim being denied or delayed.
how to prevent unclaimed life insurance policies
While it’s too late for deceased relatives to provide you with information about their insurance policies, your relative may have provided you with a good learning opportunity so that the next generation doesn’t have to search for unclaimed life insurance.
If you’re covered by life insurance, let family members know you have a policy so they don’t lose their death benefit if you die. Provide details about the policy, such as the insurance company, policy number, and amount of coverage. Provide your insurance company with as many details as possible about your beneficiaries, including names, addresses, and social security numbers, to make it easier for the insurance company to find them. It’s also a good idea to keep your life insurance paperwork in a safe place so family members have access to it when they need it.
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frequently asked questions
what happens to unclaimed life insurance money?
How long does a beneficiary have to claim a life insurance policy?
How do I know if a life insurance policy is valid?