How to Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy

How do I find out if Grandma had a Life Insurance policy?


Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but navigating their life insurance policies can make things even more difficult. If the deceased didn't keep good records, you might feel like you're searching in the dark for something which might not even be there.

The easiest way is to call their broker, but sometimes it's hard to know who that is.

In some cases, the original insurance broker might have been dead for decades. The policy might have changed brokers so many times over the years that it seems impossible to figure out who to ask!


That's why I compiled this list of steps to hunt down a life insurance policy. Before I continue, I want you to be careful of scams: There are lots of shady businesses which offer their services to hunt for missing funds or life insurance policies. They may charge commissions of 10 to 40 percent! At best, they may do some of the easy work like entering your social security number into government websites, but worse, they may take your sensitve information and rob you blind. If you choose to work with one of these companies, be very very careful about who you are dealing with.

AARP says, "At worst, others are outright scammers who demand outrageous up-front fees for “finding” missing money that never existed or who try to get sensitive information that could be used for identity theft — all while fraudulently pretending to be NAUPA (which doesn’t directly disburse funds) or state treasurers. In one recent scheme, New England residents were blanketed with letters, claiming to be from NAUPA or the Office of the State Treasurer, that falsely claimed recipients had $450,000 in unclaimed sweepstakes winnings but that their allocation would require a $2,250 service fee."

If one of these companies says they are working on behalf of the state agency or National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, RUN FAST IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. They are lying. State treasurers and comptrollers do not hire third parties to track down owners of unclaimed property.

How do you find lost life insurance policies?


1. If you have any information about other policies, start there.


Contact the customer service number on the bottom of the policy and ask them if the insured has any other policies with them.

This includes homeowners and auto insurance. Often times, people will buy different kinds of insurance from the same agency.

If you cannot track down the agency, check with the carrier. The agency is not the same as the carrier. For example, the deceased might have bought life insurance with XYZ Life through ABC Agency back in 1959. ABC Agency might have gone out of business and been absorbed into JKL agency, but contacting XYZ Life might be more useful.


2. Ask their employer and other entities to which they belonged.


This includes:
  • Unions
  • Professional Groups
  • Associations / Clubs
  • Fraternities or Sororities
  • Employers and Businesses


Sometimes these groups offer life insurance to their members.

3. A Year's Worth of Mail


Insurance policies send out yearly statements. Make sure you monitor the deceased's mail for a year in case you get any paperwork on an unknown policy.

4. Go over Bank Statements.


What you're looking for is payments made to life insurance companies. You might have to go back quite far to find this.

5. Check Income Tax Returns


What you're looking for here is interest income or interest expenses from life insurance companies.

6. Call the State Insurance Department


Some, but not all, states will offer free searches to those looking for an orphaned policy. Check the orphaned policy page on the NAIC website for your state. https://eapps.naic.org/orphanedpolicy/


7. Check the Life Insurance Policy Locator

The NAIC has a life insurance policy locator.

This will help get you in touch with companies which might have written a life insurance policy for the deceased.


8. Was the deceased a veteran? Check if there was life insurance through the VA.


The VA phone number for life insurance is 1-800-419-1473. Give them a call to see if they had life insurance through the VA.

Alternatively, look for unclaimed funds at https://insurance.va.gov/UnclaimedFunds

9. Check for Unclaimed Funds


The USA.gov Unclaimed Money official government website has plenty of tips on how to search for funds owed to you.

Each state also has its own official website where you can search for unclaimed funds.

Finding An Insurance Company that Got Acquired or Changed Its Name


Insurance companies get acquired by other companies, change their names, or spin off into other companies. A lot may have changed since your loved one bought life insurance a long time ago.

The MIB Lost Life Insurance website says, "If the insurer is no longer doing business or it was acquired by another insurer, a web search may uncover the successor insurance company. If you know the state in which the insurer had its home office, you should check with the state insurance department in that state to find out information about its successor. A.M. Best's Insurance Reports, available in the reference section of many larger libraries, provides lists updated annually of insurance company names and addresses, as well as insurers' name changes, mergers and other changes."


With all these resources, you should be able to come up with some information on the lost life insurance policy. Good luck!

SOURCES:
https://blog.aarp.org/2016/04/29/dont-pay-for-your-missing-money/
http://www.mib.com/lost_life_insurance.html
https://www.iii.org/

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