I recently had a client contact me after his father passed. His father mentioned a life policy to him however, my client had no information on who the policy was with, how much it was or documentation outlining these details. Here are some tips on how to find a life policy on someone who has passed or track down unclaimed life insurance money.
1) GIVE DETAILED INFORMATION ON YOUR BENEFICIARIES - Insurance companies proactively search for beneficiaries; some have entire offices dedicated to doing so. What does this mean for you? If life insurance money goes unclaimed and you are listed as a beneficiary, chances are the insurance company will be able to find you. If you purchase a life policy, list all beneficiaries with as much detail as possible (include full name, address, phone number, email). List as much information as possible. If a beneficiary's information changes, contact the insurance company and let them know. Keeping all of your beneficiaries information up to date can help make finding them much quicker for the insurance company. I suggest that my clients not wait for an insurance company to find them. Know if your loved ones have policies and who their policies are with.
TELL BENEFICIARIES THAT THEY ARE LISTED ON THE POLICY - Insurance companies only provide information to beneficiaries. If a beneficiary knows that they are listed and how to access the policy in the event something were to happen to you, they will be able to quickly gain access to the insurance death benefit.
BENEFICIARIES - Keep up with information that is given to you on a loved one's policy! You do not want to have to go through the steps to locate the policy are wait for the death benefit to be reported as unclaimed money.
2) CONTACT THE INSURANCE AGENT - If you do not have information on a policy, try calling the insurance agent that sold your loved one the life insurance policy. A simple phone call can give you all of the information you need or point you in the right direction.
3) CONTACT THEIR EMPLOYER - Often life insurance is purchased on the job. I recommend contacting the curent or former employer to see if your loved one had a policy through their job.
4) CHECK BANK STATEMENTS - If you have access to bank statements, this can be an easy way to find out who a loved one's insurance policy is with. Look for premium payments and call the insurance company deducting payments.
5) CHECK INCOME TAX RETURNS - Check tax returns to see if there might be interest on a cash value policy reported.
6) CONTACT THE STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT - If you are still not able to successfully track down a life insurance policy through the methods above, I suggest contacting the State Insurance Department in the state where the policy was purchased.