What is a “Lost” Life Insurance Policy, and How Do You Find it Again?

We all lose things; our keys, our spare socks, and our cell phones are just some of the things that the majority of us have likely misplaced within the past week. But what about your life insurance policy?

Though it’s not quite the same as your left sock vanishing in the dryer, a life insurance policy can be lost. A “lost life insurance policy” refers to a life insurance policy whose paperwork has disappeared. At this time, life insurance policies are not kept on any kind of database, so a policy whose paperwork you can’t locate is one that you will have difficulty making a claim on.

A loved one’s passing is already an overwhelming time, and the prospect of having to track down a lost life insurance policy can make this situation feel even more daunting. Fortunately, a lost life insurance policy does not need to be lost forever, and there are several steps that you can take to find this policy.

Important Questions to Answer

The first step to finding a lost life insurance policy is making sure that you have as much information as you can. With the right information, you can greatly reduce the difficulty of your search and find the policy quickly and painlessly.

Here are some important questions to consider:

  • What if I don’t know which company the policy was with? Fortunately, you won’t have to contact every carrier around you to ask whether they had a policy in your loved one’s name. Instead, contact your state insurance commissioner’s office, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners will help you through the process of finding which company issued the policy. It’s important that you know which state the policy was purchased in, not the state in which the insured passed away.
  • Will I be able to get information about someone else’s life insurance? If you are an immediate family member, the beneficiary, or another involved party, you will have the right to information.
  • Do I need to provide any information? Yes. If you are the beneficiary, a close family member, or an executor of the estate, you will need to provide proof of your identity, a copy of the insured’s death certificate, and their Social Security number.
  • What if no one claims the death benefit? If the death benefit remains unclaimed, the insurer will send it to the states unclaimed property office.

Where to Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy

At this point, ideally you will know the insurance company that issued the policy. From there, you can start searching for the policy information. In some states, you can utilize a policy locator service that will forward your information to all licensed life insurers. These services are currently active in Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont.

If you cannot find the policy using those services, try these methods instead.

  • Look at the paperwork. You may not have the life insurance paperwork, but some of the insured’s other paperwork could have the answers you need. Keep an eye on the mail: the insured could receive life insurance bills or statements in the mail, which will provide all of the answers you need. You could also take a look at bank statements for records of payments to life insurance companies, income tax returns for interest income from their life insurance policy, or even their email inbox for messages from their insurer. If you have the time and the access, look through all of their paperwork for any insurance-related documents or information from insurance companies.
  • Reach out. State policy locators and insurance commissioners are not the only sources that could have the answers you need. If the insured had life insurance through their job, contacting their employer could yield records of group policies. It is important to note that group benefits typically cease along with employment, but an employer could have some useful information. Financial advisors are also likely to have access to the insured’s insurance information, and their bank is also worth contacting. They may have a safe deposit box that contains the deceased’s life insurance policy, or they may have purchased life insurance through the bank. If you know some of the other insurance agents that the deceased worked with (such as an auto or homeowners insurance agent), try checking with them too. They may have also sold them a life insurance policy, or they may know who did. The MIB Group has an active database of life insurance applications (not policies) dating back to 1996, so if the insured applied for a policy since 1996, you can greatly narrow down your search to just the companies they applied to. There is a fee for this service, but it can be a great help to you.

Remember, all you need to know is the company name. Once you have that information, you will be able to make the claim: you do not need to have a copy of the policy or the policy number. As long as you have the death certificate, you will be able to contact the insurer and file a claim for the death benefit.

About National Catholic Society of Foresters

At National Catholic Society of Foresters, we pride ourselves on giving back to the communities that we serve by providing quality and comprehensive insurance solutions. Sales from our financial services products help fund member benefits along with social, educational, and volunteer programs designed to respond to community needs. Our portfolio is extensive, ranging from various life insurance policies to IRA’s to support your financial needs no matter what stage of life you’re in. For more information, contact our friendly experts today at (855) 804-7424.