A life insurance policy is something you hold onto for years, or in some cases, an entire lifetime. Over time, you may lose track of a life insurance policy you took out, especially if there have been changes to the company it was purchased from. This is more common than you think, as each year it’s estimated that tens of millions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed.
In this guide, we’ll provide steps to help you find a lost life insurance policy along with the information you’ll need to submit to claim it.
How to locate a lost life insurance policy
If you have a life insurance policy but are having trouble finding it, here are ways you can locate it to get benefits you’re entitled to. These options also apply if you’re a beneficiary looking for a policy held by a a close friend or family member.
1. Look through important documents
Whether you’re the policyholder or a beneficiary, your first step should be looking in the place where you store important documents. This can include physical storage like a file cabinet, drawers, or a safe along with digital storage such as computer folders and email accounts. If you can’t find the policy, look for anything that looks like it’s from an insurance company to tell you who to contact.
2. Ask life insurance agents, financial advisors, attorneys, and employers
If the policy was purchased from an insurance agent, they should be able to find it or tell you who it’s from. Some life insurance policies are used in retirement planning, so financial advisors may also be able to locate it. If you or the policyholder has an attorney used to create a will, contact them to see if they have the details. Note that policies are distributed separately from a person’s will, so don’t assume there is no policy because it’s not included in the details of the will. If none of those people have the information, try reaching out to your current or previous employer. Many employers offer group life insurance to employees, so you can check with them to see if you have an active policy.
3. Contact the insurance company
If you have the name of the insurance company the policy was purchased from, contact them for assistance finding it. In case you can’t remember the name of the insurance company, try looking through bank statements for a charge from an insurance company. You should also look carefully for anything that stands out, as it’s possible the insurer may bill through a different company. When you reach out to the insurance company, you’ll likely have to submit proof that you’re the policyholder or a beneficiary by providing documents like a driver’s license, social security number, or death certificate.
4. Use a life insurance policy search tool
Several organizations offer online tools that let you search for lost life insurance policies, such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and various state-specific tools for residents. Each tool may look a little different, but the process will likely involve you entering basic information like your name and address along with other details about the policyholder such as their social security number. After submitting the information, you can expect to hear back from the organization or state within 90 days if a policy has been found.
Who can request life insurance policy information?
- The policyholder
- Next of kin (spouses or children)
- Designated beneficiaries
- Estate executors and Trustees
What information do you need to provide when locating a life insurance policy?
- Legal first and last name (including former maiden names)
- Social security number
- Driver’s license
- Date of birth (and death if the policyholder is deceased)
- Death certificate (if the policyholder is deceased)
- Current and former addresses
- Military discharge papers or records of service (if the policyholder was a veteran)