With over $1 billion from old or forgotten life insurance policies that have gone unclaimed, there are tons of people out there who have money owed to them. Think this might be you or someone you know? It’s time to find out for sure.
Start With Old Documents
A search for an unclaimed life insurance policy can get confusing early on in the process. Luckily there are a few things you can do to keep it simple. If a family member or loved one has passed away (whether recently or years ago), start by searching through any filing cabinets, folders or other storage devices that might contain important papers. Any correspondences or premium notices from a life insurance company will point you in the right direction.
If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon the right paperwork, you’ll want to call the associated insurance company. You’ll likely be asked to verify your identity so the company can request a copy of the policy holder’s death certificate. Most claims processes aren’t any more complicated than this, but they require you to know which insurance company to contact.
Utilize an Online Search Service
While you can’t expect to simply plug someone’s name into Google in order to bring up information about unclaimed life insurance money, there are online search services that can help you in your quest. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administration (NAUPA), for example, runs www.unclaimed.org, which is an excellent resource. Another good link to try if unclaimed.org doesn’t work out is www.missingmoney.com. Both of these databases contain valuable information that may lead to the discovery of unclaimed life insurance money.
Check with the State, Banks and the Medical Information Bureau
If you’ve been unable to locate any associated paperwork and you’re online searches have come up empty, there are 3 key places left to look. First, you’ll want to check with your State Insurance Department. Many people don’t realize that insurance is regulated at the state level. While they don’t typically devote a single list to issues surrounding unclaimed money, they may have some helpful information for you.
If nothing comes from calling the State Insurance Department, you’ll want to contact the banking institution that was utilized by the deceased. They may be able to do a search for canceled checks, for example, which can help to locate premium payments that have been either made or canceled. This will give you the information you need to find out which insurance company to contact.
Still no luck? The Medical Information Bureau, Inc. is likely your last hope. A consumer reporting agency, MIB stores a great deal of information collected from health and life insurance companies. They will help to find the policy you’re looking for, albeit for a fee. Alas, you’ll have to pay to get the information you’re looking for from MIB. Contacting them should be your last resort in your search for unclaimed life insurance money.
Wrapping Things Up
If there’s even a small possibility that unclaimed life insurance money exists, it can’t hurt to look. For best results, start with the tips outlined above. Most unclaimed money can be found this way, but not all. Some searches can be incredibly complex and may take more time than others. Remain focused, track your progress and take vigorous notes—eventually, you’ll be able to locate that missing policy.
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