Was my spouse insured?

"The policies of the deceased are often difficult to track. There is no clearinghouse for unclaimed policies out there, so many of the life insurance policies go unclaimed. There is no science to determining if a deceased family member has unclaimed life proceeds. The best thing you can do is try and sift through there papers, look at blank checks, look at old credit card statements, old bills, and see if they have stored anything in a safe deposit box, etc."

"We would suggest talking to other family members, lawyers, CPA's and friends who might know about wills and important papers. Another thing to check is if they had any coverage at work. The insurance companies are not going to track down the beneficiary of the deceased, so they can pay them what is owed.The life insurance company will typically send the proceeds to the state in which the policy was originated if no beneficiary steps forward (usually within 3 years). These proceeds will sit in a trust account and can be claimed at any time. With your own insurance, let people around you know where you have your documents. The last thing an insured wants is for their beneficiary to not get the proceeds." -- Morgan Moran

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a "Life Insurance Company Location System" to help you find state insurance department personnel who might help identify companies that might have written life insurance on your loved one. NAIC's Life Insurance Company Location System - Answer five questions, using your best guess if necessary, then click on the 'Create Suggested Contacts' link to view a list of State Insurance Departments that may be able to assist you with your search. - ( Check with the state's unclaimed property office. -If a life insurance company knows that an insured client has died but can't find the beneficiary, the death benefit would have to be escheated to the state of last known address of owner or to the state in which the policy was bought as "unclaimed property."

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators ( - NAUPA is the association of the state unclaimed property programs, but the databases are located and maintained by each state, not NAUPA. However, most states participate in MissingMoney and we suggest that you search there is a database of governmental unclaimed property records. Common types of unclaimed property include: Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents, Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends, Uncashed checks and wages, Insurance policies, CD's, trust funds,Utility deposits, escrow accounts

Check among all their important documents, the safety deposit box, call any and all agents or companies they may have done business with for auto and home insurance, investments, retirement planning, etc. Call the lawyer, the accountant etc.

Here's are some tips: or for $75.00 They have a large database of insurance applicants available to the public and the cost is relatively cheap considering the value of what they might uncover. You will need to provide a death certificate and a notarized application - probably a good thing from a privacy perspective.

If the house and car were insured, start with the local agents who sold those policies. Insurance companies usually keep track of customer names and Social Security numbers.

If the policy was active, a premium notice eventually will come in the mail. Look for canceled insurance checks.

Private firms specialize in finding lost life insurance for a fee. Search the Internet for "Life Benefits Search" or "Lost Life Insurance Finder."

Life insurance is often purchased to protect against loss of income, but policyholders commonly fail to inform the beneficiary(s) of the policy's existence. As a result, many policies go unclaimed based on long dormancy periods or lack of awareness. Insurance companies would like to distribute what is rightfully due, but the responsibility to claim benefits lies with the survivors. It is estimated that over $1 billion of insurance proceeds currently could be claimed by beneficiaries from North American insurance companies..

Check the bank account statements for regular with drawls... it may be a few years back for 20 year pay policies. Do follow up from there. Check with family friends, sometime the owner might have discussed it with them.

Call the suspect companies and ask. If you have the persons info and know what company he may have been insured with, you can call the insurance company claims department and ask. They will only tell you if he was insured and nothing more without evidence that you are privy to that info. Also, call his insurance agent and ask.

If a family member dies and you are unable to locate his or her life insurance policies, there is, unfortunately, no national or statewide database of all life insurance policies that you can consult. However, you can try to determine which insurance company might have issued the policy, which agent or broker might have sold or serviced the policy, whether the deceased might have had insurance through an employer, union or trade association, or other group to which he/she belonged.

Here are some strategies that might turn up useful information:

  1. Look for insurance-related documents.

    Search through files, bank safe deposit boxes, and other storage places to see if there are any insurance-related documents. Also, look through address books to see if the names of any insurance agents or companies are listed. An agent or company who sold the deceased their auto or home insurance may know about the existence of a life insurance policy.

  2. Contact current and prior financial advisors.
  3. Contact current or prior attorneys, accountants, investment advisors, bankers, business insurance agents/brokers and others who might have known about the deceased’s life insurance.

  4. Review life insurance applications.
  5. The application for each policy is attached to that policy. So if you can find any of the deceased’s life insurance policies, look at the applications for them. The application will have a list of all other life insurance policies owned at the time of the application.

  6. Contact previous employers.
  7. Former employers may have a record of a past group policy or policies.

  8. Check bank books and canceled checks.
  9. See if any checks have been made out to life insurance companies over the years.

  10. Check the mail for a year following the death of the policyholder.
  11. Look for premium notices or dividend notices. If a policy has been paid up, there will no notice of premium payments due. However, the company may still send an annual notice regarding the status of the policy or it may pay or send notice of a dividend.

  12. Review the deceased’s income tax returns for the past two years.
  13. Look for interest income from and interest expenses paid to life insurance companies. Life insurance companies pay interest on accumulations on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans.

  14. Contact all relevant state insurance departments.
  15. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a “Life Insurance Company Location System” to help you find state insurance department personnel who might help identify companies that might have written life insurance on the deceased. To access that service, go to the NAIC's Life Insurance Company Location System.

  16. Check with the state's unclaimed property office.
  17. If a life insurance company knows that an insured client has died but can’t find the beneficiary, it must turn the death benefit over to the state in which the policy was bought as “unclaimed property.” If you know (or can guess) where the policy was bought, you can contact the state comptroller’s department to see if it has any unclaimed money from life insurance policies belonging to the deceased.

  18. Contact a private service that will search for “lost life insurance.”
  19. Several private companies will, for a fee, contact insurance companies for you to find out if the deceased was insured. This service is often provided through their Web sites.

  20. Do you think the life insurance might have been bought in Canada?
  21. If so, you might contact the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (phone: 1-800-268-8099; Web site:

  22. Try the MIB database.
  23. There is a database of all applications for individual life insurance that were processed during the last 12 years. There is a $75 charge per search. Many searches are not successful: a random sample of searches found only 1 match in every 4 tries. For more information, go to MIB's Consumer Protection page.

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