Talking about death can be uncomfortable and is even considered taboo in many situations. Because of this, many people take out life insurance policies without ever telling anyone about them, including their beneficiaries. When this happens, the beneficiaries may never learn about the policy, potentially leaving thousands of dollars unclaimed. This situation is more common than you might think – many insurance experts have speculated that there have been billions of dollars in insurance payouts that have never been claimed.
If you think you may be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you may be wondering how to find out the details of the policy and how to file a claim. Here’s how to find out if you’re the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
How to Find the Life Insurance Policy of a Deceased Person
There are a number of steps you can take to find the insurance policy of someone who has passed. This can take a little bit of detective work and a lot of patience, but don’t give up. The financial benefit of a life insurance policy is worth searching for, particularly if you need the payout to cover the cost of the funeral or the deceased’s debts. Here’s where to start if you need to find someone’s life insurance policy.
- Start by going through their belongings. They may have left behind documents relating to an insurance policy. If they had a will, you may need to talk to their executor. The executor can help you gain access to things like safety deposit boxes or other secure items. In particular, you should look at their mail. They may have received bills or other paper notices from an insurance company. Their bank statements may also indicate payments made to an insurer. Tax documents may also provide helpful information about their finances that can help you find their insurance company.
- Continue to check the mail for the deceased. If they were insured, their insurance company may continue to send them bills or other mail. These documents can provide key contact information for the insurance company.
- If you can’t find any documents relating to life insurance, reach out to any contacts that the deceased had. You never know who they might have mentioned their life insurance policy to. Other family members and friends may have information, but you should also reach out to people like their doctor, their lawyer, or their financial advisor. Reaching out to close professional contacts may also prove helpful.
- Search online for their life insurance information. Sites like Unclaimed.org have listings for thousands of unclaimed life insurance policies as well as other unclaimed assets. Depending on where you live, your state’s Department of Insurance may also have the policy listed in their online directory. If you have access to the deceased’s computer, it may also help to go through their digital documents and emails to see if there is any information about their life insurance policy.
- Contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The NAIC has an online tool that you can use to search for insurance policies, but you can also call them directly if you need more assistance. You can even file a request to search for the deceased’s insurance policy. In this case, your state’s agency will conduct a private search with life insurance agencies and contact the appropriate beneficiaries if they do discover a policy.
How to Contact the Insurance Company
Once you’ve found information about the deceased’s insurance policy, you’ll need to contact the insurer to file a claim. Insurance companies don’t give out policy information to just anyone, so you’ll need to prove your relationship to the deceased. In most cases, you’ll need a copy of the death certificate and their social security number, as well as your own social security number and ID to prove you are the beneficiary.
Once you have found the insurance company and proven your identity, you’ll need to file an insurance claim. An insurance agent can help you through the process of filling out the claim forms and getting things set up. Luckily, the process of filing a life insurance claim is very easy as long as you have their death certificate. In most cases, the company will be able to issue your life insurance benefit very shortly after you file your claim. There are a few different ways you can receive a payout – most companies will allow you to choose between getting it all at once or getting smaller payments over the course of your lifetime.
The Importance of Talking About Life Insurance
Many people avoid discussing life insurance with their family and loved ones because they find it uncomfortable. However, these difficult conversations are essential – without them, your beneficiaries may never know how to file a claim on your insurance policy.
Ideally, you should let your beneficiaries know that they’ve been named on your life insurance policy. However, if you don’t feel comfortable having these conversations due to factors like family politics, you can tell a neutral third party, who will inform the beneficiaries in the event of your death. You should also make sure someone is informed every time you make changes to your will.
If you think you may be the beneficiary of your living relative’s life insurance policy, it can’t hurt to ask them. Although it can be an uncomfortable conversation, it can also help you and your loved ones get the essential information you’ll need to file a claim in the future. If your loved one is struggling with dementia or is otherwise unable to give you this information, start talking with their friends and professional contacts now to get an idea of where their life insurance policy could be. Starting the search now can save you time and stress down the road.