Losing your keys is a frustrating experience. Losing your cell phone may invoke panic, but losing a life insurance can be a major problem. For some, it may be confusing to understand how a policy can actually be “lost,” but this occurs more often than you may realize and causes problems for beneficiaries in need.
Thousands of Americans struggle to find a lost life insurance policy each year. Many times, this happens with the family of a loved one who is faced with locating a lost policy. For families who are trying to receive benefits, this can be even more stressful when compounded with funeral costs and immediate expenses. For those who have lost a loved one and are in search of an insurance policy, use these tips to find what you’re looking for.
1. Do Some Detective Work
It may be difficult to sift through a loved one’s personal paperwork shortly after their passing, but locating life insurance documentation as soon as possible is critical. When looking for a lost policy, start at home and search through each file, or stack of paperwork. Check personal files and mail for any paperwork regarding a life insurance policy. You may also want to look in the checkbook for a copy of canceled checks that may give a clue as to the insurance company.
2. Contact Other Insurance Companies
Look at homeowners, auto , or other types of policies that may lead you to the life insurance agent or company. If you still come up empty-handed, you can broaden the search by contacting family financial or legal advisors. Call the insured's previous employer or check with any trade unions to see if the lost life insurance policy came through them.
3. Contact the State
As a last resort, you may contact your state insurance department, and they may have a record available with helpful information to help you locate a policy. If some time has gone by, you may also check with the state's unclaimed property office. The unclaimed property office has records of life insurance policies with unclaimed beneficiaries. When an insurance company can't find a beneficiary, it has to give the death benefit to the state in which the policy was purchased. This process may take some time, so it’s likely that loved ones won’t be able to claim benefits for several months once the policy has been surrendered to the state.
4. Hire a Professional
If you still haven't been able to locate the lost life insurance policy, there are private service companies that can help. This option is the most expensive, but these companies are often successful at finding lost policies by insurance companies or searching through insurance application databases.
For policyholders, it is important to keep your life insurance policy in a safe place and to inform family members of the location so they can take the steps necessary to receive benefits.
By Matt Reynolds - Google+