When you lose a loved one, you are saddled with some responsibilities like making funeral arrangements, settling debts, and settling financial affairs of the deceased. A lot of people have life insurance policies to cover for the costs of their burial, pay off their debts and also leave something for dependents and relatives.
However, this task may be cumbersome especially if you have limited information about the deceased’s financial records. Do you know that thousands of insurance claims worth millions of dollars are left unclaimed every year, simply because the deceased’s relatives were not aware of the existence of such policies?
If you have elderly parents that you don’t live with for instance, it’s possible for them to take out life insurance policy without your knowledge and when they pass away, of course, the benefits would be left unclaimed because you were not aware that these policies existed.
This is why when relatives pass away; you must do your best to find out if there are any existing insurance or financial benefits that the dependents should be entitled to. To search for insurance policies for your deceased relative, this is what you should do-:
15+ Ways to Find Life Insurance Policies for a Deceased Person
Table of Content
- 1. Search through the deceased’s files
- 2. Safe Deposit Boxes
- 3. Check Tax returns
- 4. Find out from Employers
- 5. Financial Records
- 6. Will
- 7. Checkbooks
- 8. Talk to the deceased’s lawyer
- 9. Talk to Financial Advisers
- 10. Talk to friends and family
- 11. Talk to Insurance Agents
- 12. Check Probate Records
- 13. Search the Medical Information Bureau (MID)
- 14. Check ‘unclaimed property’ records
- 15. Talk to an insurance professional
- 16. Hire a private investigator
1. Search through the deceased’s files
If the deceased was someone who liked to keep records and files, your job would be way easier because chances are that you would find life insurance policy certificates or other evidences in the files. Note that there are some life insurance policies that remain valid even long after premiums have been paid, so it’s possible for the deceased to have policies taken as far back as 20 years ago.
2. Safe Deposit Boxes
A lot of people keep important documents and certificates in their safe deposit boxes. Therefore, you should ensure that you check the deceased’s safe deposit box to see if you can find any valuable information.
3. Check Tax returns
There are lots of life insurance policies that pay annual interests on policies. If this is the case, there would be evidences of such in the deceased’s tax returns. So, you may want to check to see if you can find any of such evidences.
4. Find out from Employers
If the deceased was employed at the time of death, there are chances that the company offered some benefits package with life insurance included. You may also want to find out from past employers too.
5. Financial Records
If the deceased had a life insurance policy agreement, he would have paid the premiums one way or the other. This is why you should ask for bank statements as well as credit card statements. There are chances that you would be able to find evidence of premium payments in one of these.
If the deceased had a will before he passed away, ask to see the will as you may also find something about his insurance policies in the list of the assets owned.
Another thing that could help you in your search is the checkbook of the deceased. He probably wrote out some checks for premium payments, you may also find cancelled checks therein as well.
8. Talk to the deceased’s lawyer
Legal practitioners due to the nature of their jobs know a lot about their clients. If the deceased has a legal adviser, there are chances that the lawyer would have helped in reviewing or giving advice about an insurance policy in the past therefore, you should not hesitate to call the lawyer up to help with your search.
9. Talk to Financial Advisers
Financial advisers like accountants, assets managers, stock brokers or even tax consultants know a lot about their client’s financial records too. Such people can also help to trace existing insurance policies.
10. Talk to friends and family
If you have a very close friend, then you would know just how much information a friend can have about you. There are chances that the deceased would have mentioned something in that line to friends and family members if he had an insurance policy.
11. Talk to Insurance Agents
If there are any known insurance agents of the deceased, then these are the first set of people you should talk to. These people would easily know details about the deceased’s insurance policies.
12. Check Probate Records
Another place where you may be able to find useful information about a deceased’s insurance records is by researching the probate court to obtain information about the deceased’s estate.
13. Search the Medical Information Bureau (MID)
When you want to buy life insurance policy, the insurance company would try to find out information about your medical records and it would do so through the medical information bureau. Now, if the deceased bought any life insurance policies during his/her lifetime, there are chances that the insurance company would have tried to find out some information through the MID. Therefore, you should check the MID to see if any insurance company tried to investigate the deceased medical records at any time.
14. Check ‘unclaimed property’ records
If you have taken all the steps above without results, then you should consider going to the local government office unclaimed properties division to see if there are any records of unclaimed insurance policies in the deceased’s name.
15. Talk to an insurance professional
You can also talk to an insurance professional. An insurance professional may be able to help you find out information about an existing life insurance policy on the deceased by using his networking skills to find out from other insurance agents or companies.
16. Hire a private investigator
Private investigators are very good at digging out information including those that are deliberately hidden. So your last resort should be to hire a private investigator to find out about any existing insurance policies. However, you should only hire a private investigator when you strongly suspect that you are missing out on something. Remember that you would have to pay the P.I and that would be a loss for you if no insurance policies exist after all.