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“Lost” Insurance Policies

Many times, an individual passes away without leaving their financial affairs in order. The spouse, children or family members may have not summary of life insurance coverage. Any life insurance policy payout, large or small, will assist the survivors with funeral and other expenses. Several Retiree News readers mentioned they faced this challenge when a family member passed.

Lost or forgotten life insurance policies are very common in the U.S. It’s estimated that more than $7 billion in benefits from unclaimed life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed by their rightful beneficiaries.

While unfortunately, there isn’t a national database for tracking down these policies, there are a number of strategies and a few new resources that can help your search. Here are several to get you started.

Search the individual’s records: Check their financial records or storage areas where they kept important papers for a policy, records of premium payments, or bills from an insurer. Also contact the individual’s employer or former employer benefits administrator, insurance agents, financial planner, accountant, attorney or other adviser and ask if they know about a life insurance policy. Also check safe-deposit boxes, monitor the mail for premium invoices or whole-life dividend notices, and review old income-tax returns, looking for interest income from, and interest expenses paid, to life insurance companies.

Get help: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a policy locator service program that you can access at NAIC.org . There are also nineteen state insurance departments that have policy locator service programs too that can help you with your search. To find direct access to these resources visit the American Council of Life Insurers website at ACLI.com – look under “State Resources.”

Contact the insurer: If you suspect that a particular insurer underwrote the policy, contact that carrier’s claim office and ask. The more information you have, like the individual’s date of birth and death, Social Security number and address, the easier it will be to track down. Contact information of some big insurers include: Prudential 800-778-2255; MetLife; AIG 800-888-2452; Nationwide 800-848-6331; Northwestern Mutual, and John Hancock.

Search unclaimed property: If your mom died more than a few years ago, benefits may have already been turned over to the unclaimed property office of the state where the policy was purchased. Go to MissingMoney.com, a website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, to search records from 40 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The pull-down menu under Links connects you to a map and addresses for unclaimed property agencies. Or, to find links to each state’s unclaimed-property division use Unclaimed.org.

If the indivdual’s name or a potential benefactor’s name produces a hit, you’ll need to prove your claim. Required documentation, which can vary by state, is detailed in claim forms, and a death certificate might be necessary. If you need a copy of your mom’s death certificate, contact the vital records office in the state where she died, or go to VitalChek.com.

Search fee-based services: There are several businesses that offer policy locator services for a fee

+ MIG Group: https://www.mib.com/lost_life_insurance.html

+ Policy Inspector: https://www.policyinspector.com

+ Lost Life Insurance Finding Expert: http://www.lostlifeins.com

The listing of these companies and their contract information does not constitute an indorsement.


Parts of this post was taken from a Huffington Post article and information provided by Reid Matsushima, an Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor.

Reid provided the following comment:

this is a reminder to get your own affairs in order. Talk to your loved ones about your life insurance, and make sure your beneficiaries have the names of the insurers and policy numbers before you die

* Last reviewed on August 1, 2019