Recently, we focused our efforts on what to do in the event you have a life insurance policy but you are unable to locate the life insurance company. The reasons this may happen are because life insurance companies consolidate their operations, get purchased by other life insurance companies, change their name, or sell off policies to another company. You can find information on what to do if this happens at “How to Locate a Lost Life Insurance Company.” But what happens in the event someone is deceased and you suspect they have a life insurance policy, but you don’t know where the life insurance policy is? In other words, what happens if you can’t locate a missing life insurance policy?
In the event someone has passed away and you suspect they may have one or multiple policies, there are a number of steps you can take to determine if they had a life insurance policy, and how to find it. Here are some tips on where to start:
- Look for evidence that they paid premiums for a life insurance policy. You can scour old checkbooks, look at bank statements, credit card statements, and perhaps any receipts that they may have. This will give you a good clue that they were actually paying premiums into a policy, but beware, they may have paid a lump sum for a life insurance policy and that may be harder to track down.
- Look for life insurance documents in safe deposit boxes, files, and any place where important documents may have been kept.
- Look through their address book for insurance companies or insurance agents. They may have had a life insurance policy through a company that carried their auto or homeowners, or even health insurance as well.
- Review any estate planning or trust documentation for references to life insurance.
- Contact any financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, CPAs, or insurance professionals that they may have worked with in the past.
- Review income tax statements for interest income paid or interest expenses paid to life insurance companies. Generally, life insurance will not produce interest income, but in some cases this may be relevant.
- Contact old employers to see if they may have had company or group life insurance.
- Check the mail for at least a year following the deceased’s death. If they have the correct address, insurance companies will mail out annual statements summarizing any life insurance policy that the deceased may have.
- Contact public organizations that provide information on life insurance policies:
- State Insurance Departments – To access this service, go to the NAIC’s Life Insurance Company Location System.
- State Unclaimed Property Offices – National Association of Unclaimed Property Administration.
- The MIB Database – This is a database of applications for individual life insurance over the past 12 years. This search will set you back $75 but can be money well spent. For more information on the MIB Database, visit the MIB’s Consumer Protection page.
- If all else fails, you can contract with a private service to locate a policy for you. These companies will often contact hundreds of life insurance companies for you to determine if a policy exists in the name of the deceased. These private companies can be found by doing a google search for “locating a lost life insurance policy.”
In summary, if you suspect that a life insurance policy exists when a person has recently been deceased, it would be prudent to do some research in effort to confirm your suspicion. With today’s technology, locating a lost life insurance policy has never been easier. Enjoy Life!