If you’ve lost a friend or loved one, you may be wondering how to find out if a life insurance policy exists. It would be great if there was a national database where you could enter your name and find out in seconds if you are a beneficiary, but there is no website to find out if someone has life insurance. Getting your questions answered may require some work.
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Since there is no requirement to inform beneficiaries that they are listed on a policy, you may not even know that someone has left you this money. So how do you find a deceased person’s life insurance policy? let’s take a look at the best way to do it.
Steps to find out if someone has life insurance
Your first job is to answer the question, how do you find out if a life insurance policy exists? there is some research you can do to help you find out if a policy exists:
- get the death certificate
- talk to family and friends
- search personal belongings
- verify mail/email
- search online
- review death certificate
- talk to bankers, financial advisors or insurers
- your name, contact information, and social security number
- the decedent’s name (including maiden name, if applicable) and social security number
- a death certificate
- proof of your relationship to the deceased
- the executor of the estate, if one has been named
- the decedent’s next of kin, usually a spouse, parent, or child
- designated beneficiaries of any life insurance policy
- You may be a beneficiary of life insurance and not know it.
- finding out requires research: talking to family and friends, checking mail and email, and looking for other clues that there is a policy that names you.
- once you have the policy in hand, it’s very easy to file a claim with the insurer.
get the death certificate
Most places you will search will require you to present the death certificate, and possibly the decedent’s social security number, in order to conduct the search. If you discover that you are a beneficiary, you will need to present a copy of the death certificate to the insurer to prove that the policyholder is deceased.
You may be able to obtain a death certificate from a family member or executor. if not, contact the vital records office in the county or state where the death occurred. the procedure varies from state to state, but this is a good place to start.
talk to family and friends
Another good place to start is to ask questions of those who knew the deceased well. A spouse, children, or good friends may have heard the person talk about her life insurance and how they hoped the death benefit would help someone.
You may not discover hard data like the policy number this way, but if you’re not even sure a policy exists, you can confirm it with a simple conversation. One person to definitely include on your list is the executor of the decedent, if any. they may be able to bring your search to a quick and easy end if the policy documents are with the will and other end-of-life documents.
search for personal belongings
If the deceased is a close relative, it may be easy to search their desk and other personal belongings. if it’s not a family member, it can be a bit more difficult.
Let’s say, for example, you think your best friend named you on his life insurance policy. you may need to talk to your spouse for more information and permission to search the policy.
At a minimum, this requires tact and compassion, as she will be grieving the loss of her husband. you’ll want to reassure her that you’re only trying to ensure that her wishes are met, whether you benefit from it or not.
verify mail and email
again, this is often easier with a family member, when you have access to their home and computer. what you are looking for are billing statements, account statements, and other communications from the insurance company that holds the policy.
If it’s a term policy, the deceased would have been making payments and you should be able to find a record of that. if it was a permanent form of insurance, payments may come from the cash value of the policy, but there should still be annual summary statements.
Like we said, there’s no easy database of websites to find out if you’re the beneficiary of a policy, but there are places to look online. Your first stop should be the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life Insurance Policy Locator. With a minimum of information about you and the deceased, the naic will perform a free search of insurers to find out if there are active policies.
Other helpful resources include the website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Managers and missmoney.com, which works with the u.s. (and some Canadian locations) to help people find money they may be owed from various sources.
talk to bankers, financial advisors or insurers
Although privacy rules may govern how much a bank official can tell you about the decedent’s finances (unless you are the executor), you may be able to get some information from them. It may help to talk to the decedent’s financial advisor or accountant, or even your regular insurance agent.
If you are an executor or next of kin, you may have access to safe deposit boxes or other private storage areas that could provide important information. if you’re not in a position to access them, see if you can get permission from those in the deceased’s inner circle who can access them.
base of contact with employers, fraternal organizations and other groups
Employers will often offer a simple life insurance policy as a benefit to employees. if the deceased worked, or even retired, it is helpful to check with previous employers.
Some organizations also offer group life insurance. unions, professional organizations and more can provide this as a benefit of membership. If you know of any organizations the deceased belonged to, contact them and find out if there’s a chance your loved one had a policy through them.
how to find a copy of the insurance policy
once you determine that there is indeed a life insurance policy, you should read it carefully. Hopefully, you’ve discovered the company that holds the policy, so your first step would be to call the company’s claim number and ask if you’re a beneficiary of the deceased’s policy. if so, you should be able to receive a copy of the policy.
To do this, you may need to submit the following:
Who can request information about a life insurance policy?
Even if your loved one is deceased, privacy rules control who can request information about your finances. In general, the only ones who will have easy access to financial information, such as policy documents, include:
Until you are sure you are a beneficiary, your access will be limited. The best thing you can do is approach one of the people listed above and explain your concerns. If you have reason to believe you may be named on a policy, please share that information.
what do I need to make a life insurance claim?
once you have determined that you are, in fact, a beneficiary, you do not necessarily need to connect with the next of kin or the executor. If you have a copy of the policy document or other proof that you have been named a beneficiary, you should be able to go to the insurance company and make your claim.
The materials you would need to submit include all of the items on our list above, including your own name, contact information, and social security number, as well as a death certificate and information about the deceased. Armed with this information, you should be able to start the process of closing the account and getting your money.
what if no one claims the money?
If no one claims payment on a life insurance policy within a certain period of time, insurers must turn over unclaimed benefits to the state’s office of unclaimed property, which is usually a subsidiary of the state’s office of unclaimed property. state treasurer.
Most states require life insurers to make a good faith effort to locate all beneficiaries, in addition to regularly checking against a central list called a master death file to ensure they know when a beneficiary has died. policyholder.
In most states, the law allows several years to pass before insurers release funds to the state. at that time, you’ll need to contact your state’s unclaimed property office to ask how you might access your benefits.
can you be a beneficiary and not know it?
In a nutshell: yes, you can be a beneficiary and have no idea you’ve been named on the policy. A friend may want to honor you with a gift, or a grandparent may want to make sure you’re taken care of in the future, but he doesn’t want you to know.
Usually when the decedent dies, the insurer will find out from the family or master death file and the company will contact you in a timely manner. occasionally that doesn’t happen, and then you’ll need to be a detective to find out the details about the deceased’s financial situation and their wishes regarding the money they leave behind.
Millions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed each year because beneficiaries have no idea they have been named on the policy. How do you know if someone has life insurance? you’ll want to look up the policy details and see if it’s named. Organizations like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help you determine if your deceased loved one left you a payment.