How to Find an Existing Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance policies can last for decades, and the beneficiaries may change over time. Sometimes, that makes finding the details of a policy more complicated, especially if you don't have the paperwork. For example, maybe your loved one passed without giving you the details of their policy, or you want to find out if they have an active policy.
Without the information at hand, you might wonder how to find out if someone has a life insurance policy. While it might take a little bit of digging, there are some places you can look to find a missing life insurance policy.
Will I be Notified If I Am the Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy?
You might be listed as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy and not even know it. There is no requirement for the policyholder to notify you that you are a beneficiary.
The same is true for your own policy and who you've listed as your beneficiary too. Lacking this information may hamper locating a lost policy, especially considering there is no life insurance database where consumers can search for existing life insurance policies.
How Do I Start Searching For a Missing Life Insurance Policy?
While trying to locate a lost life insurance policy can feel like a frustrating process, there are solutions out there to help. With a little digging, finding your policy or beneficiary status may be easier than you think.
If you are trying to find a lost policy, determine if a life insurance policy exists, or aren't sure of the details for a policy you have, you still may be able to find it.
There are a few places to start your search.
- For a policy through employer benefits: Contact your human resources department or employer directly. For example, if one of your workplace benefits includes life insurance, your HR department may be able to assist with connecting you to the appropriate party.
- For a personal policy: Look through your paper and digital files, including your email. Check your bills for past premium payments and any policy information.
- Ask loved ones: Also, ask your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other loved ones. You might have mentioned your policy in passing, and they could remember more details.
With paperless billing and other online tools, finding a digital copy of your paperwork may be easier than searching through old documents.
How Do I Locate the Life Insurance Policy of a Loved One?
If you're trying to figure out how to find a deceased person's life insurance policy without any information from them, you may need to expand your search.
Here's where to start:
Reach Out to Others
Even if you don't have first-hand knowledge of policy information, it's possible others do. Speaking to family members, friends, and any financial professionals your loved one met with, such as a financial advisor or accountant, might provide insight into any existing policies.
Check the mail for bills and review other documents. Your loved one may have created a document with their key financial and login information for you to access their accounts as part of the estate planning process. If you can get in, you might find documents saved in their email or other online folders.
Contact Other Insurers
Your loved one might have bundled their life insurance policy through another insurer. Though it might be a long shot, contact their insurance agent for their home or auto policies and see if they had a conversation about other insurance options.
Check Online Databases
Lost or unclaimed policies aren't uncommon. There are a few databases available that serve as life insurance policy locators and offer a life insurance policy search by name feature that may help you find your loved one’s policy information. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC): This is a life insurance policy locator created to help consumers locate deceased family members' policies or other close loved ones.
- The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: If you were listed as a beneficiary on a policy and didn't know it, you may find it here. You can search through various state databases from this main site.
- MIB (NAIC): MIB is a company that helps people find lost or missing life insurance policies through their policy locator service. The company has a unique database of processed life insurance applications. Note that it is a paid service.
- MissingMoney.com: MissingMoney contains state records of unclaimed funds and is endorsed by National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
What Happens to Unclaimed Life Insurance Money?
When a life insurance policy’s benefits go unclaimed, the policy will remain available to claim for a certain number of years (typically three years, but the exact amount of time can vary by state). If, after the waiting period ends, the policy benefits are still unclaimed, the money will then be transferred to the state in a process known as "escheat." Once the money is received by the state, the state government is required to make one final attempt to find the policy beneficiary. If the beneficiary cannot be found by the state, ownership of the benefit money will then be transferred to the state treasury to become part of the state funds.
One important thing to remember is if you or your loved ones have active life insurance policies, save your documentation in a safe place and give others access. That will help make it easier for them to get information when they need it.
If you have any general questions regarding life insurance or if you're considering purchasing a policy, contact one of our licensed agents at AIG Direct by calling 800-294-4544, or request a quote to begin the process.
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