How Do You Find the Life Insurance Policy of a Deceased Family Member?

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When someone dies it can be hard to imagine the next steps. It is especially trying when you are not sure where all the necessary documents, like a life insurance policy, are located. But, what if finding a life insurance plan for a deceased family member was easier than you ever imagined? 

Navigating all the steps involved can be difficult, especially when you are also dealing with grief. Fortunately, this guide makes these steps easier, helping you find what you need while also giving you peace of mind. 

If you have been frantically searching the internet for how to find a life insurance policy of the deceased, here are some answers. 

Understanding the Importance of Locating Policies 

One reason family members should try to find policies for the deceased is to determine the last wishes of that individual, including named beneficiaries. In many cases, insurance companies do not automatically pay out these policies because they are not aware of the covered individual’s death. If you do not let them know, the benefit will join the tens of millions of dollars of unpaid benefits that go unclaimed annually. 

Common Obstacles in Finding Life Insurance After Death 

When a policy does not pay out, in most cases it is because the survivors had no knowledge of the policy and when the payments stopped, the policy became inactive. Insurance companies may try to find a beneficiary in these cases, but if contact information is not up to date or the primary beneficiary has died, the policy lapses. 

However, if you are fortunate enough that someone in the family has knowledge of some type of life insurance the decedent had, you can start the search. Begin by looking through their paperwork and other belongings. If you do not find what you are looking for, you may need to cast a wider net by speaking to friends and employers (the deceased may have told them about protecting themselves from the storm of unexpected events) while also conducting specialized online searches. 

First Steps in Searching for a Deceased Person’s Life Insurance Policy 

If you are trying to figure out how to locate a life insurance policy, you should know that it is often a multi-step process. Use the steps below to help you get started and save plenty of time along the way. 

Review Personal Documents and Digital Footprints 

The first step in looking for a policy is to check the physical and digital paperwork of the deceased. This includes any records, bills, or old mail they might have kept. Business cards and bank statements may provide important clues. Make sure to also check their digital footprint, including emails they might have received about their policy from a carrier. 

Talk to Family, Friends, and Professional Advisors 

When focusing on how to check for life insurance policies, do not forget to ask the family and friends of the deceased. In many cases, they can either provide a direct answer or help you dramatically narrow down your search. It is equally important to reach out to any financial advisors, estate planners, or other professionals who would know about any existing policies. 

Reaching Out to the Deceased’s Workplace 

Do not forget to reach out to the employer and co-workers of the deceased. In addition to personal policies, they may be able to tell you if they had any coverage provided directly through the employer. 

Woman with a magnifying glass and folders, concept of searching for a life insurance policy.

Leveraging State and National Resources 

If the above tips do not work, that does not mean you have to give up on locating policies for the deceased. Below, you will find a breakdown of state and national resources you can utilize to find the information you need. 

Utilize NAIC and Other Life Insurance Policy Locators 

Your first step is to use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life Policy Locator tool. By inputting basic info about the deceased (name, birthday, date of death, and Social Security number), you can instantly find out if the database has any information about policies belonging to the dead family member. If you do not find anything, then it is time to contact more localized resources. 

Contact State Insurance Departments or Unclaimed Property Offices 

Every state should have both an insurance commissioner and an unclaimed property office. A commissioner will have their own state-specific database that can be used to search for information about policies belonging to the deceased. An unclaimed property office, meanwhile, is where many carriers will deliver policies when nobody claims them. By contacting both the commissioner and the unclaimed property office, you can greatly improve your chances of discovering an otherwise lost policy. 

When to Consider Professional Assistance 

If the tips above do not help you locate the life insurance policy, that does not mean you have to give up. You may be able to hire a third-party service to help you, but before you do so, it is important to understand the pros and cons of such a service. 

The Benefits of Hiring a Third-Party Service 

The main benefit of hiring a specialized third party to find a life insurance policy is that they are experts. Letting them focus on this task will save you plenty of time and potential stress. Meanwhile, the time you save by hiring a third party can be used to help you deal with other estate-related issues or simply focus on your grief. 

Knowing the Costs and Limitations of Fee-Based Services 

The exact cost of hiring a third-party service to find policies will vary, so it is important to know exactly what someone is charging and whether you can afford it. It is also worth considering that much of what the professionals will do for a fee (such as checking through old records and contacting various friends, family, and employers) are things that you can do on your own, all without paying any extra money to anyone else. 

FAQ: Navigating Life Insurance Lookup Post-Mortem 

You may still have a few questions about how to locate a policy for a deceased family member. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions. 

Who Is Eligible to Request Information on a Life Insurance Policy? 

An insurance carrier will only release information about policies to family members, policy beneficiaries, or the executor of the estate. However, anyone who has the relevant information (including the policy holder’s Social Security number) can use national and state resources to search for policies. 

What Should You Do If You Suspect Being a Beneficiary of an Unknown Policy? 

If you think your loved one chose you as a life insurance beneficiary, try using the national and state resources described above ASAP. It is up to you to determine whether you should continue researching the matter if you do not find anything during these initial searches. 

Is There a Central Database for All Life Insurance Policies? 

NAIC is the closest thing to a central database for life insurance, but it does not have info on every single policy. That is why it may be necessary to consult with state databases and unclaimed property offices to find info on missing policies. 

Know the Policy is with InsureOne? Next Steps 

If you are confident the life insurance policy is with Insurance One, contact us immediately so we can help you search. At InsureOne, we are your total coverage concierge for life insurance and beyond. When you are ready to protect your future or the future of your loved ones, get a quote online. Of course, you can also pick up the phone and give us a call at 800-836-2240 or find an InsureOne office near you and visit us in person.