Losing a life insurance policy is a common thing. In fact, millions of dollars go unclaimed every year, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) cites lost policies as one reason for that.
But with this tool from the NAIC, families who are left scrambling to track down a lost life insurance policy after the death of a loved one have an easier way to go about the process.
Free Life Insurance Locator Service
The Life Insurance Policy Locator Service allows you to run a nationwide search for insurance policies or annuities in the names of people who have died. You have to believe that you are the designated beneficiary or be a legal representative of the deceased to use this service.
You need a certified death certificate to complete a request. Here’s a list of the information about the deceased you’ll have to submit to process your request:
- Social Security number
- Legal first name
- Legal last name
- Date of birth
- Date of death
If a company finds a match, it will respond to you directly if you’re the designated beneficiary or legal representative. It can take up to 90 days for an insurance company to respond to your request for information.
This tool has gotten more than 227,000 requests and has seen more than $1 billion in claims since launching in November 2016.
State-Specific Locator Searches
Several states have long offered free locator services through their insurance departments.
These state-specific locator services apply only to policies purchased in the following states:
If you run into any problems, your best bet is to contact your state insurance department and ask about the process you need to go through. All insurance is regulated at the state level.
Unclaimed Property Search
Insurers subscribe to databases that tell them when policyholders die. If they can’t track down the beneficiaries on a policy, they must turn any benefits over to the state’s unclaimed property office.
The period after which an insurer has to surrender unclaimed benefits to the state varies by state. But if you think this could be the case in your situation, we’ve got advice on how to track down unclaimed money and property that could be out there in your name.
An Ounce of Prevention Can Help Avoid a Lost Life Insurance Policy
To avoid the hassle of making your beneficiaries search for a lost life insurance policy after death, the NAIC recommends the following:
- Update your beneficiary information. Make sure your company and agent have current contact details for all listed beneficiaries.
- Alert your beneficiaries of the policy. Provide them with the name of your agent and the name of the company that wrote the policy.
- Make sure a current copy of your policy is with your will or estate paperwork in a safe place where your family or beneficiaries will know to look for it and will have access.
- Consider asking your insurance company for an annual policy statement if one isn’t provided.