You may remember a loved one making an allusion to a life insurance policy. You may also want to do your due diligence by surviving family members. Always be sure you’re leaving no potential source of income unclaimed. However, finding a lost life insurance policy for a family member who has passed away is a daunting task at best. Below are a series of places to begin to search.
1. Look for Insurance Related Documents
You are likely already planning to go through your loved ones’ documents in order to ensure that all the loose ends are tied up. This is the first and most obvious place to also look for insurance documents. Don’t forget to look in safety deposit boxes, as well as address books for the phone numbers of agents or financial advisors who may have more information.
2. Contact Legal and Financial Professionals
You should contact any financial planner, estate planner, or other legal or financial professional your loved one was regularly in contact with. They will know about a life insurance policy, and be able to provide you with more information.
3. Review Life Insurance Applications
If you find one insurance application, applicants are required to list any other policies they have. You can use this information to follow up with specific companies.
4. Contact Previous Employers
Many people get life insurance group policies through work. Reach out to former employers to see if they have records of past group policies.
5. Check Bank Statements
Regular payments to an insurer can indicate an automated payment of premiums to keep an insurance active.
6. Check the Mail
Even for a policy that has been paid in full, you may get an annual update on the account. If the account requires monthly premiums to stay active, you can count on a letter much sooner than that.
7. Check Their Taxes
Checking your loved ones tax returns can show interest income or expenses from money paid to an insurer. Since insurance companies pay interest on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans, any of this kind of activity on the previous two years’ tax returns should indicate the presence of an insurance policy.
8. Check with NAIC
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a service in 28 states that can help you locate a missing insurance policy. To look into whether your state is on the list, visit their website.
9. Check the State’s Unclaimed Property Office
If an insurer knows that a client has died, but is unable to locate the beneficiary, they are required to turn over the account to the UPO for the state. This may be a good place to begin looking if the policy is an older one. For more information on how to access your state’s Unclaimed Property Office (or that of any state), read this article.
10. Contact a Private Search Service
If you’re willing to bet a little money on the existence of a policy, you can hire a private search service to do many of these steps, and a few more specialized ones to hunt a policy down.
11. Be sure to Notify Family Members of Your Own Policy
In order to avoid this same kind of work for your own family, be sure to notify them about your own policy, and upload policy information to Jazmine.com.