Question – How do you know out if someone had a life insurance policy before they died?


It’s very common for family members to be unaware of life insurance policies that their loved ones take out.  There are many reasons behind this, most notably embarrassment and/or discomfort in talking about death. Either way, if your loved one recently passed, there is a slight chance that he had a life insurance policy without letting you know about it.  As life insurance companies do not generally notify the beneficiary of the insurance policy in the event of death, it is up to you to uncover any life insurance policies out there that may exist.

Fortunately, the are many methods to find out if someone has live insurance.  Let’s take a look at them:

  1. Check his or her bank account (if you have access to it) to see if regular payments were being made to a life insurance company.
  2. Check his or her file cabinet or personal documents “stash.”  If you have access to their safety deposit box, you also might want to look there. If somebody takes out a life insurance policy, chances are that they will not throw out the important paperwork.
  3. Contact his or her lawyers, financial advisers, accountants, business associates, or anybody else who would be familiar with your loved one’s finances.
  4. Check with your state’s insurance department.  The state in which you think the life insurance policy was written would be a good place to start.  You can find your state’s insurance department linked from the NAIC.
  5. Check non-government websites that allow you to search for lost life insurance policies.  One such policy locator service can be found at
  6. Check with “unclaimed property” offices.  All states have unclaimed property offices which deal with life insurance policies.  In fact, if a life insurance policyholder passes away and the insurance company cannot locate the beneficiary, they are required by law to turn over the benefits of the policy to the state’s unclaimed property office. You can search for your state’s unclaimed property program on