You need to find out if someone you loved who’s passed on had a life insurance policy. Their house is a mess, financial records are lost in a garage or gathering dust in an attic and you’re already stressed beyond belief. It would be nice if you could find out if they were covered with life insurance, but those policies might have been signed when you were in grade school, so where do you look?
Information you’ll need to start searching for the lost policy
- The full name of the insured.
- The policy itself, if you get lucky enough to find a hard copy. Make sure to note key information such as the complete name of the person insured, dates on the documents and the policy number.
- A certified copy of a death certificate, and if you can find it, social security-related information.
Where to start your search and look for a copy of the policy
- If you can find them, pore over any financial records to discover any payments to an insurer.
- Dig through stacks of unopened mail for statements or billing records.
- Call auto or home insurers to find out if a life insurance policy was purchased as part of a package deal.
- Make a call to the person’s last place of work. This might reveal whether or not a policy was purchased through the employer.
- Old income tax filings might include mention of interest income earned from an insurance policy.
- Get in touch with the person’s bank. A search through a safe deposit box can yield information you’ll find helpful.
- Check the attic and garage and start with the heaviest boxes first. Paper weighs a bunch, and documents tend to find out of the way places over time.
- Look for boxes of old family photos. Photos – and important documents – are often stored nearby.
Once you’ve found the policy?
Contact the insurance company in question and file a claim. Once you’ve contacted the insurer, if things don’t go smoothly from there, your state insurance commissioner can help resolve any problems with a claim.
What to do if you can’t find a hard copy of a policy
- Pull together as much information as you can like a full name, date of birth, Social Security number or any other relevant documents.
- Use this free nationwide life insurance policy locator service tool from NAIC (eapps.naic.org)
- Check for unclaimed property in any states (www.unclaimed.org) where the person lived.
- You could opt to pay a search company to run the person’s name against insurance industry databases, but don’ do that. A little diligence will go a long way in your search and yield results.
Additional Resources to find a lost insurance policy
- Locate a lost policy with the free nationwide NAIC life insurance policy locator app (eapps.naic.org)
- Unclaimed property in other states (www.unclaimed.org)