How To Locate An Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance protects the beneficiary in case of death of the policy holder. If you are a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you may not be informed of the death of the policy holder, or the policy has been forgotten. Consumer Reports reveals 1 in 600 beneficiaries of life insurance benefits lose $2000 annually because of an overlooked life insurance policy. Here are some tips on locating unclaimed life insurance money.

Check Personal Information

If you can't find the policy and have the authority, search personal records. Examine safe deposit boxes and filing cabinets for related documents, and look for canceled checks made out to the insurer. Unless you are executor of the estate, you may need a court order to view safe deposit boxes.

Review credit card statements to look for indications of a premium payment made to the provider. Check address books, online contacts of names of financial advisers, associations, and other groups who could have information.

Some insurers get life insurance policies through their employers, so try to get a list of the deceased's former employers. Keep a watch in the mail for insurance statements that say when the next payment is due. If payments stopped, the company will send occasional statements telling policy value.

Search the Medical Insurance Bureau and the State's Unclaimed Property Office

Try searching the Medical Insurance Bureau, a consumer group that collects data on health and life insurance. To search the database, you need the deceased's birth date, death date, and last known address. For a fee, the Medical Insurance Bureau searches for policies taken out since January 1, 1996 in the U.S. and Canada.

However, you can only use this service if you are an administrator of the estate, surviving spouse, surviving child, or closest living relative. If the provider can't find beneficiaries within a time period, the insurance provider may turn the benefits over to an unclaimed property office in the state where the deceased bought the policy. 

Contact the Insurance Provider

Once you know a policy exists or you locate a lost policy, contact the insurance company. The insurance company is not always aware the policy holder died, or they do not know how to locate beneficiaries. Also you have to prove you are a beneficiary.

If you aren't a beneficiary, the provider won't disclose information because of privacy laws. Otherwise, they send a packet to verify your identity. If you can't find a company on the policy, contact your state insurance department.

You will still be entitled to the life insurance benefits no matter how long ago the policy was issued. To keep this from happening to your family, inform your beneficiaries, and contact details with your insurance provider. If you don't have a life insurance policy, consider getting one. Contact a business, such as Red Oak Insurance Agency, for more information.