What You Should Know
- Life insurance benefits can go unclaimed for various reasons, such as incorrect beneficiary information or lost policies
- The Unclaimed Life Insurance Act helps beneficiaries find missing insurance payouts and ensures that life insurance companies send unclaimed funds to the state
- There are numerous ways to find unclaimed life insurance benefits, even if it takes years
Life insurance payouts may only be claimed if the insurance company can find a beneficiary or the beneficiary knows about the policy. Fortunately, these unclaimed life insurance policies can be found, regardless of how much time has passed.
Keep reading to learn how to find an unclaimed life insurance policy and file a claim.
Reasons Why Life Insurance Policies Go Unclaimed
One of the benefits of buying life insurance is that your loved ones receive financial security after you’re gone. However, your beneficiaries may not know about the policy, or information may be lost over time.
If you believe an insurance policy is missing, there are various ways to find these unclaimed policies. Check out this table for tips on finding unclaimed insurance payouts.
Methods for Tracking Unclaimed Life Insurance Policies
|Search financial records, personal files, and tax forms
|Conduct a thorough search of personal records, bank statements, address books, and IRS tax returns to find information related to life insurance policies.
|Check with past employers, professional groups
|Contact past employers, professional associations, and unions to inquire about any life insurance policies provided by the deceased’s workplace or affiliations.
|Search company websites to locate life insurance policies
|Visit the websites of life insurance companies like John Hancock, MetLife, and New York Life, which may offer online search tools to help locate policies.
|Utilize government, state, and industry life insurance policy finders
|Utilize resources like the Social Security Administration’s “Death Master” file, state insurance departments, and online policy finders to locate unclaimed policies.
|Pay for help to locate life insurance policies
|Consider using paid search services or the MIB Group’s database search, which may provide information on insurance applications made to U.S. and Canadian insurers.
Since the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act is active in 33 states, beneficiaries in those states receive help to find lost policies.
Check out this article to learn more about how life insurance works.
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How to Find Out if a Life Insurance Policy Exists
There are several ways to find out if someone has life insurance. First, the insured’s estate executor or financial advisor may have information about the insurance policy.
Read more: How to Find a Life Insurance Advisor
Next, you find policy information through the insured’s belongings, such as bank statements or mail.
Finally, several online resources help you perform an unclaimed life insurance policy search. While some of these websites are free, others require payment.
Locating an Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy
Millions of dollars each year are unclaimed from life insurance policies. Although getting exact numbers is challenging, this table shows how much money may be out there waiting to be claimed.
Money Lost to Unclaimed Life Insurance
|Population of the United States
|Ratio of beneficiaries to the population
|1 beneficiary per 600 people
|Estimated number of beneficiaries
|Average benefit per policy
|Estimated total unclaimed funds from life insurance policies
Keep reading to learn how to locate missing life insurance policies and claim life insurance death benefits available to you.
Tools and Resources for Finding Unclaimed Insurance Policies
If you believe you should receive unclaimed beneficiary funds, there are several ways to search for unclaimed policies.
This table details ways to search for unclaimed life insurance policies.
Steps to Find an Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy
|Search for insurance policy paperwork
|Look for insurance policy paperwork, premium payment receipts, bank statements, or any insurance-related communication.
|Turn to a missing policy locator
|Utilize the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Policy Locator Service or similar services to request insurers to check their files.
|Search for the insurance company
|If evidence of a policy is found, identify the insurance company and contact them to file a claim.
|Make sure you’re looking in the correct state
|Determine the state where the policy was purchased and check in any prior states the person may have lived in.
|Check with rating services
|Check with insurance rating agencies like AM Best to find information about insurers, including those that are defunct.
|Search for a financial connection
|Reach out to professionals who handled the deceased’s finances, such as accountants, financial planners, or insurance agents.
|Search unclaimed property files
|Use databases like MissingMoney.com to search for unclaimed property in most states.
|Contact the deceased’s former employers
|Check with former employers, labor unions, or professional associations to determine if life insurance coverage was provided.
|Pay for a search of the MIB database
|Use the MIB database search to track insurers, especially for cases where there is certainty of an unclaimed life insurance policy.
Remember, there is no deadline for finding unclaimed insurance policies. Insurance companies don’t keep unclaimed payouts and help beneficiaries make claims thanks to the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. The unclaimed money reverts to the state. Although the funds may move to the state, you can still receive the insurance payout.
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Finding the Life Insurance Beneficiary to the Policy
The insurance company often doesn’t know about the insured’s death unless told. When the company finds out, they contact beneficiaries to begin the claims process. However, if the beneficiary’s information is incorrect or is deceased, the benefits may revert to the estate.
You can change your life insurance beneficiary whenever you wish, but you must also change the contact information. Let the beneficiary know about the policy, including the insurance company and policy number, to make it easier for them to receive the payout.
Read more here to learn how to choose a life insurance beneficiary.
How to Claim Unpaid Life Insurance Benefits
Once you find the life insurance policy, you need to know how to file a life insurance claim. Each life insurance company has its own claims process, but you will probably have to provide the insured’s death certificate as well as verify your information.
What You Need to Know About Finding Unclaimed Life Insurance
Even the best life insurance companies have unclaimed policies. If you think you’re a beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy, there are numerous ways to find the policy.
If you cannot find the information through the insured, consider online services to help locate missing policies. After several years determined by the state, unclaimed life insurance funds are transferred to the state treasury and listed on the state website.
While there is no time limit for claiming life insurance benefits, it’s easier on your beneficiaries if they have updated policy information. Otherwise, it can take years for your loved ones to receive the financial security you planned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a life insurance policy go unclaimed?
Yes, if the life insurance company is unable to locate the beneficiaries of a policy, the payout is unclaimed. In addition, some beneficiaries may not know they are listed on a life insurance policy.
How many life insurance policies go unclaimed every year?
Millions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed each year. More than $1.1 billion in life insurance payouts are estimated to be unclaimed.
What happens to unclaimed life insurance money?
When the insurance company determines the life insurance payout is unclaimed, it is transferred to the state’s treasury. There is no time limit for unclaimed insurance money, and many states allow you to search online for unclaimed funds.
How do I get a copy of a lost life insurance policy?
Locating a lost life insurance policy may be tricky. Contact them for a copy if you remember the insurance company that issued the policy.
However, if you’re looking for someone else’s lost policy, you may have to search bank records, safety deposit boxes, and other personal items to find information about the lost policy.
How long does it take for a life insurance policy to be considered unclaimed?
State laws determine how long a life insurance company has to declare benefits unclaimed. While the length of time varies, unclaimed death benefits are turned over to the state’s treasury office where the insured lived.
How do I check for unclaimed life insurance in my state?
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) allows people to search for unclaimed life insurance benefits in their state. In addition, many state treasury offices allow you to search for unclaimed funds online.
How do I find out if an old life insurance policy is still good
First, check with the insurance company that issued the policy. If the company has been sold, it may take legwork to find the new policy. Then you can also use websites to help find a missing life insurance policy.
Is it difficult to find unclaimed life insurance policies?
While several organizations offer help finding unclaimed life insurance, finding these policies can take a very long time. If you believe you’re a beneficiary, start the process early to find unclaimed insurance money quickly.