After facing a loved one’s death, life insurance can help provide necessary financial security to pay for funeral expenses and supplement lost income. In most cases, when someone takes out life insurance, he or she lets the named beneficiaries (often family members of the insured) know about it. That way, when the policyholder dies, the beneficiary or beneficiaries will know to file a claim with the life insurance company.
However, policyholders often neglect to discuss their policies with family members. Although the subject may be difficult or personal, failing to let family members know about your life insurance policy can prevent them from obtaining benefits. In many states, insurance companies are not required to contact the beneficiaries in the event of the policyholder’s death. If your beneficiaries don’t know about the death benefit, then your policy might end up lost and unclaimed. This can create a problem for beneficiaries. How can they find out whether their loved one took out a life insurance policy?
The first step in finding out whether your deceased loved one had a life insurance policy is to look through their records. For instance, bank statements may record monthly premium payments, or the deceased might have received updates from the life insurance company by mail. Searching through mail, bank statements, contact lists, taxes, etc. can shed light on whether your loved one had life insurance. Additionally, if the deceased had a lawyer, accountant, or close friend oversee his or her finances, there’s a good chance that they would know about any life insurance policies.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) maintains a list of state-by-state insurance departments which may keep records of your loved one’s life insurance. They also run a “Policy Locator Service” in which the NAIC will contact insurance companies on your behalf. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) uses a similar search tool. You can also pay a company to speak directly to insurance companies and find a missing policy. Policy Inspector is one such example, which charges via a $99 flat fee. Using any of these resources may help you find your loved one’s life insurance policy.