How to Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy

After the death of a loved one, dealing with life insurance paperwork can be daunting. Luckily, there are resources available to you that will assist with finding any lost policies or annuity contracts.

Are You Missing Money From an Estate of Deceased Relatives? Attempt using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Search Tool, as well as your state’s Unclaimed Property Office, or converse with their financial advisor or accountant for guidance.

1. Contact the Company

Searching for lost life insurance policies on behalf of yourself or another can be an extensive undertaking, but here are several tips you should try: Start by investigating where that individual stored important documents – this could include physical storage such as file cabinets and drawers as well as digital archives like computer folders and email accounts; ask family, financial planners, lawyers and accountants whether they know of any policies they had; contact employee benefits administration offices of companies where that individual worked as they may hold information regarding group life policies that might exist; inquire among family and financial planners about whether anyone could provide any leads about group life policies which might exist and any relevant contacts that exist;

Dependent upon where they lived or purchased their policy, depending on where the deceased resided or bought it from you can use an online tool provided by either the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) or your state’s unclaimed property division. Each tool varies slightly but usually require that you provide their name, date of birth/death/SSN/last state of residence – for instance NAIC’s Lost Policy Finder will search its database on your behalf and reach out to participating companies directly.

Private organizations also provide search services, for a fee. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ Missing Money website searches multiple state databases at once for unclaimed funds such as utilities and insurance policies; once located, executors or administrators of estates can typically claim these proceeds using certified death certificates and company claim forms. Many insurance companies, like MetLife and John Hancock have their own search tools on their websites that can locate beneficiaries on existing policies. Some may even provide this service free of charge.

2. Contact the Beneficiary

Ideal, people would be open about their life insurance policies and where to locate paperwork if something were to occur, yet this is often not the case. Many avoid discussing life insurance because it can be awkward; as well, confusion arises regarding who has claims and which policies were purchased, which leads to some policies becoming lost or forgotten about altogether.

If you’re the beneficiary of a deceased loved one’s life insurance policies, there are various strategies you can employ to locate them. Start by searching online for policy locator services – they will assist in tracking down lost policies and tell you whether or not there may be claims available to claimants.

Search through personal papers such as address books and cell phones for insurance-related documents and communications that might exist within them, including premium payment receipts or bank statements showing an automatic deduction from an insurer. Visiting the deceased’s safe deposit box could also provide useful insights – however this should be done with assistance from either their lawyer or executor of estate so as to not break any laws when accessing its contents.

If your search has come up empty, contact your state’s insurance department (insurance is regulated at the state level) who will be able to determine if an insurance policy was ever purchased and provide details on how you can file a claim as the beneficiary.

3. Contact the Legal Representative

If the deceased had legal representation (such as an estate attorney or executor) they may be able to access records related to life insurance policies sold during their life time and assist you with finding them. You could also contact their homeowner and auto insurer, along with accountants, financial planners or any other advisors that could have information on them as potential sources.

If your loved one died recently, search their personal papers, address books and electronic devices for evidence of insurance relating to premium payments receipts or letters from an agent. In addition, if they had an online bank account it might also contain records of transactions and communications from them that can help.

Also contact the deceased person’s former employers. Many group life policies are taken out through employer-sponsored plans, so their employee benefits office may have information about any policies held. You could also check with your state insurance department to see if they offer a lost policy locator tool or unclaimed property database which you can use to search for missing policies.

Unless the deceased was meticulous in organizing their paperwork, finding their life insurance policy might prove challenging. MIB, an insurance membership corporation, offers a policy locator service at a fee which may help locate evidence of applications but not actual coverage. You could also search insurance rating services to see if any resources exist to locate insurers who may have gone out of business or discontinued coverage altogether.

4. Contact the Financial Advisor

Finding life insurance paperwork after someone has passed can be a difficult and complex task, but steps can be taken to simplify this search.

Search through any documents your loved ones might possess, such as bank statements, tax returns and email or external hard drives for records related to life insurance policies held by them – especially if they were permanent and started earning cash value or taking out loans against it. Also if they provided group life insurance through work then HR departments might provide some insight into it.

Financial advisors such as their accountant, attorney, banker or business partner could also be helpful when looking for life insurance policies; although these people might not know much specifics on a policy itself, they might recall which company provided it or who their agent was. Furthermore, it wouldn’t hurt to check in with friends, family and previous colleagues as they might know something about your spouse or children’s policies that could point the way towards an insurer.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Life Insurance Policy Locator Service may also help. This free tool, accessible online, asks for the deceased’s name, last known address, dates of birth and death as well as Social Security number before sending this data out to participating insurance companies for search. While this can take some time, it is a good starting point. In addition, MIB (Life Insurance Membership Corporation), offers searches at an additional fee; however a random sample revealed it only identified one out of every four requests it received for searches!

5. Contact the Insurance Agent

Life insurance policies can often be purchased from agents and brokers, and their paperwork could still exist even when someone dies. Furthermore, people often bundle multiple types of policies together such as homeowners or auto policies along with life policies; reviewing any other pertinent paperwork such as bank statements and income tax returns could also prove helpful in reconstructing their lives.

If the deceased was an employee, their company’s HR department should be able to provide information regarding any group life insurance or supplemental life insurance purchased through their employer. Furthermore, an accountant or financial planner of their loved one might also possess documentation for existing policies as well as records detailing any life insurance purchased on their behalf by clients of an attorney.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free life insurance policy locator tool, enabling users to search existing policies by Social Security number and name.2 Your state’s insurance department may offer similar services; otherwise there are private companies that specialize in searching lost policies for a fee.

If you still can’t locate the policy, contact the insurer and request to file a claim. When doing so, the insurer will compare its records against those contained in Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to identify anyone who might be eligible as beneficiaries and send claim forms directly to them – although in some instances family members of deceased might also receive notification that a claim has been filed and how much each beneficiary stands to gain from receiving an inheritance payment from it. However, given this process can take time, and more efficient results might come from beneficiaries filing their own claims directly themselves.