When a loved one passes away, finding a life insurance policy can be a challenging but necessary task. there are a few steps you can take to get the information you need. here are some tips to guide your search.
find the documents and correspondence of the deceased.
in many cases, evidence of the policy and any relevant information
- find insurance-related documents in paper and digital files, bank safe deposit boxes, and other storage spaces.
- consult bank statements for checks or automatic drafts to life insurance companies.
- Check the decedent’s mail and email for any bonus or dividend notices. if the policy payments are up to date, there will be no notice of overdue premium payments; however, the company may still send an annual notice regarding the status of the policy or declaration of dividends.
- review the decedent’s tax returns for the past two years for a record of interest income or expenses paid to life insurance companies. life insurance companies pay interest on accumulations in permanent policies and record interest on policy loans.
- Check the application for every life insurance policy you find. This document, usually attached to the policy, will list any other life insurance policies you have at the time you apply.
- talk to the deceased’s banker, financial advisor, and attorney.
- insurance company changed its name or sold the policy to another company: the naic provides advice on finding insurance companies that have changed names, merged with other insurance companies, or sold blocks of policies to other companies insurance.
- business went bankrupt: contact your state life and health insurance association. the national organization for life & health insurance guaranty associations have a search tool to find the guaranty association for your state. Guaranty associations provide a safety net for policyholders in your state, ensuring continued coverage up to the limits set by state law.
- Policy may have been purchased in Canada: Contact the Canadian Ombudsman Service for life and health insurance information.
if this search returns empty, there are still actions you can take.
submit a request to naic’s life insurance policy locator service.
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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Life Insurance Policy Locator Service, a free online tool, can help you find life insurance policies. Once an application is received, the NAIC will ask participating businesses to search their records to determine if they have a life insurance policy in the name of the deceased who entered. if they do, the participating company will tell you if you are the designated beneficiary or authorized to receive the information.
click here to use the service. You will need information from the death certificate, including social security number, legal first and last name, date of birth, and date of death. this video provides instructions on how to use the service.
contact your state unclaimed property office.
When a life insurance company knows that an insured client is deceased but cannot find the beneficiary, the company must turn over the death benefit to the state where the policy was purchased as “unclaimed property.”
If you know (or can guess) the state where the policy was purchased, you can search the state’s unclaimed property database. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Managers has a search tool that will take you to your state’s unclaimed property database.
keep an eye out for special challenges.
There may be circumstances that complicate the search for a loved one’s life insurance policy:
please note that fee-based services are available if required.
Sometimes, even despite all your best efforts, finding an insurance policy when a loved one has passed away can seem overwhelming. In these cases, it’s helpful to know that MIB, an insurance membership corporation, offers services for a fee. this service can find evidence of life insurance applications, but does not indicate whether a life insurance policy was purchased. In addition, several private companies can help you with your search for a lost life insurance policy for a fee.
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