The death of a loved one is a painful experience and takes some time to process. It can be even more difficult when the deceased leaves financial obligations behind. The death benefit from a life insurance policy could alleviate some of those concerns and allow you extra space to grieve.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the deceased may not have left instructions on their end-of-life wishes or informed anyone that a life insurance policy existed. In this article, we’ll explain how to locate a life insurance policy that already exists.
5 Steps to Locating a Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance information is strictly regulated. It’s only released to next of kin, designated beneficiaries, executors, and trustees. Locating an insurance policy will be simpler if you fall into one of those categories. If not, you may want to contact someone who does.
Speak to close friends and family first
Buying life insurance isn’t exactly a topic for dinner table discussion, but many people tell someone close to them when they buy an insurance policy. This could be a close friend or family member. Ask your loved one’s inner circle if they know about an existing policy. You should at least learn if the deceased had intentions to buy life insurance.
Call the insurance company
You can do this with an email request, but you’ll likely need to follow up with a phone call. The challenge is determining which insurance company the deceased bought life insurance from. Start with the companies that handled their home and car insurance. That may not be your final destination, but a rep there might have referred them to another company.
Search for any documents left behind
Life insurance is a written contract between an insurance company and the insured. That means there’s paperwork somewhere. Check for documents around the house or in a storage unit owned by the deceased. An even faster option is checking through their email. Chances are there was some electronic communication when they took the policy out.
Find out if the deceased had a financial advisor
Most financial advisors take a holistic financial planning approach with their clients. That means they know when someone takes out a life insurance policy, particularly if it’s permanent life insurance that carries a cash value. Find out if the deceased had a financial advisor and inquire with them. You may find that they’ve been waiting for your call.
Use an online insurance locator
There are several online resources for finding unclaimed life insurance benefits. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators are good places to start. The MIB Group is also a good resource for this. You might need to navigate the website a bit, but the search feature is there.
The Bottom Line
Many people have life insurance and neglect to tell others about it. This can be challenging when an individual dies unexpectedly or hasn’t taken the time to document and designate their assets for inheritance. Missing life insurance policies can be found by asking friends and family about them, calling the insurance company, searching for physical and digital documents, asking the deceased’s financial advisor, or using an online insurance locator.
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