For many people, life insurance can feel like a taboo topic. Talking about death can be uncomfortable, and as a result, it’s not uncommon for someone to take out a life insurance policy without ever informing the beneficiary. Maintaining a life insurance policy for years on end can also be tricky, and many people find themselves letting payments lapse. In these situations, you might be wondering how to find out if a life insurance policy is valid. Here’s how to check on the validity of any life insurance policy.
I Stopped Paying My Premiums, Is My Policy Still Valid?
Your financial situation may change over the course of your lifetime. If you’ve experienced something like the loss of a job or a serious medical challenge, for example, the life insurance policies that may have once been affordable might now be out of your budget. With term life insurance, your policy will lapse if you stop paying the premiums. Every policy is different, and your insurance company may have a grace period – you’ll need to contact them directly to check what their procedures are. In many cases, you’ll have an extra month after you miss a payment to ‘catch up’. However, once that grace period has ended, your policy will lapse and you’ll need to purchase a new one.
If you have a permanent life insurance policy, you may have the option to cash out the policy before it lapses. This means that you’ll have access to the cash value that the policy has accrued over time. However, you’ll need to talk to your insurance company as soon as you miss a payment to take advantage of this option. Some permanent policies have longer grace periods than term policies. This means that you can reinstate your policy after it lapses, as long as it’s been under a certain length of time (usually five years). Again, you’ll need to contact your insurance company directly to see what your options are. In some cases, you’ll need to reapply and pass another medical examination in order to get your policy reinstated.
My Loved One Passed Away and I Think I May Have Been a Beneficiary of Their Life Insurance. How Can I Find Out?
If you think you may be the beneficiary of someone’s life insurance, it’s worth doing some digging to find out. Not only could you receive a significant amount of money, but that person may also have been counting on you to pay down their remaining debts or even handle funeral payments. Since life insurance is so personal, it can be tricky to find out whether or not someone had a policy.
Start by talking with other people in their life, including other family members, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. They may have mentioned something about life insurance in passing to them. You should also talk to any former employers who may have provided life insurance, as well as any lawyers or financial professionals this person had hired. They may have access to important life insurance information.
The next step is to look at their bank statements, which could indicate a payment to an insurance company. Sort through their mail as well – many life insurance companies still send paper bills, which could give you an idea of their policy. If you have access to a filing cabinet or anywhere else where they stored their documents, you’ll want to check there as well – you may even be able to find an actual copy of the policy. You may also want to see if you can get access to their computer, as many people store important documents digitally as well.
If you’ve done all this and you still can’t find out whether or not someone had a life insurance policy, you’re going to need to go a bit more in-depth. There are many websites that you can use to search for unclaimed insurance policies that are still valid. Some of these include unclaimed.org and missingmoney.com. You can also contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They have tools to help you find unclaimed insurance money, and they can also direct you to your state’s insurance commissioner for more information.
I Know My Loved One Had a Life Insurance Policy at Some Point, but I’m Not Sure if It’s Still Active. How Do I Check?
Once you’ve found out that your loved one had a life insurance policy, you’ll need to find out if it is still valid and how to get the money. Start by contacting the insurance company directly and explaining the situation. Each company has its own process for handling claims, so they’ll be able to provide more detail about exactly how to proceed. They will also be able to indicate if the policy is still valid.
There is some general information that you’ll need in order to make an insurance claim. You will need access to the deceased’s full name, which usually includes their maiden name if they were married. You will also need their social security number and death certificate, as well as proof of your relation to them.
You will be able to get a copy of the death certificate from the funeral home directly after their passing. Relatives, partners, and other close relations will be able to get certified copies of the death certificate from your state or county records office. You’ll usually need to pay a small fee in this case. You may want to order multiple copies, as this can come in handy when filing a claim. To prove your relationship, you’ll typically need a photo ID, as well as a certified document such as an executor’s testament.
Final Word on Checking if a Life Insurance Policy Is Valid
Never hesitate to contact your insurance company if you’re concerned about the validity of a policy. They can help you locate the policy and question and navigate your options moving forward. Remember that in order to keep your policy valid, you’ll need to make your payments consistently each month.