How to Make Sure Life Insurance Benefits Don’t Go Unclaimed

SmartAsset: How to know if someone has life insurance

People buy life insurance to protect against financial loss when they die. But what if they don’t tell anyone about their policy? Their family may lack much-needed money to cover lost income, pay off debt and meet other responsibilities. Here’s how to tell if someone has life insurance.

A Financial Advisor can help you create an estate plan tailored to your family’s needs and goals.

How to know if someone has life insurance

Unfortunately, too many life insurance the policies are not claimed because the surviving beneficiaries are unaware of these policies. You can find lost or unclaimed life insurance by checking with your state’s unclaimed property office or state insurance commissioner. Here are 11 common ways to tell if someone has life insurance:

Unclaimed property records. Several websites offer unclaimed property search functionality. These sites uncover unclaimed assets for living and deceased investors. Examples of websites: and

Insurance Commissioners. Each state manages and monitors the life insurance companies that operate in their state. Contact the insurance commission in each state they lived in to search for unclaimed policies. Additionally, use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website to search for fonts from participating companies.

Talk to your family and friends. Investors can share their estate planning strategies and accounts with different family members and friends. Often each person can only have a fraction of the overall plan. For this reason, it pays to contact everyone you can think of who might know of an existing life insurance policy.

Search for personal effects. While some investors have great organizational skills, others don’t. Carefully examine their belongings to locate unopened mail, paid bills, Bank statements, notes and other evidence of financial assets. Evidence of these unclaimed policies can be hidden in drawers, piled on a dresser, locked away in a safe, boxed in the attic, or in other unexpected places. You should also check with local banks to see if the deceased had a safe deposit box.

Check unopened mail. When someone is hospitalized or suffers from medical issues, it is common for bills and other mail to pile up unopened. Don’t throw them away. Carefully open each item to discover potential bank accounts, investments, or life insurance policies that have been missed.

View paid invoices. Some investors keep copies of all paid invoices. These paid statements can be hard copies or in digital format. If you can locate insurance policy records, you can find proof that an unclaimed policy exists.

Review bank statements and cleared checks. If the deceased person paid their life insurance premiums, you can find proof of this by consulting their bank statements and cleared checks. Many payments today are made electronically, either by direct debit or by initiating an online bill payment. Cleared checks are proof of payments made to different people and organizations. Searching these folders may reveal a policy you didn’t know existed.

Search the computer and other digital storage media. Some investors digitize their valuable documents and store them on their computers, external drives or cloud storage. These may include copies of the life insurance policy, premium payments or annual statements. In some cases, you may need to provide a death certificate to access cloud storage files. Personal finance programs like Mint may also include information about life insurance policies.

Contact employers and member organizations. Many employers and member organizations offer life insurance to employees and members. In some cases, these policies remain in effect long after the individual leaves the company or ceases to be a member. They should have records of any life insurance benefits you may be owed.

Talk to financial advisors and lawyers. Contact the deceased’s financial advisors and lawyers to inquire about life insurance. The financial advisor may have sold them a policy or reviewed an existing one. And the attorney may be aware of the policy as a result of estate planning discussions.

Hire a private research firm. If all else fails, it might be a good idea to pay a private search firm to locate your unclaimed life insurance proceeds. These companies can be expensive, so only go this route if you can afford their fees and are sure a policy exists.


SmartAsset: How to know if someone has life insurance

SmartAsset: How to know if someone has life insurance

Now that you know how to tell if someone has life insurance, follow these steps for your deceased loved ones to find out if you or someone else owes you money. Investors have paid premiums for years with their money. It would be a shame if their beneficiaries never received the money owed to them. If you need help, talk to a financial adviser who may be able to help you locate unclaimed death benefits.

Life insurance tips

  • Buying the right amount of insurance is important for estate planning and your budget. Buy too little and your financial needs will not be met. Buy too much and it could interfere with achieving your other goals. Our insurance calculator estimates what you need based on your goals.

  • Work with a Financial Advisor helps investors direct their money toward each of their goals. An advisor discusses your budget and creates a plan to cover your insurance needs without sacrificing retirement, college, and other needs. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisors at no cost to decide which one is best for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, start now.

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