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How to Find Life Insurance Policy

How To Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy

Did you know each year over a billion dollars of life insurance benefits go unclaimed?

More than $1 billion in benefits from forgotten or misplaced life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed.

Approximately 1 in 600 people is owed money from a life insurance policy for which they are named a beneficiary and have not filed a claim, because they did not know the policy existed, or were unaware they were a beneficiary.

The average unclaimed life insurance policy benefit is $2,000, but some payouts have been as much as $300,000. If no claim is made, the beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies may never get the money they are owed.

If you have had a member of your family pass away you may be wondering if they had a life insurance policy. Many people purchase life insurance upon the birth of a child, marriage, the purchase of a home, or the passing of a relative.

Many people who purchase life insurance forget one of the most important parts of life insurance – letting your family members know you have life insurance. Or, their life insurance policies may have gotten lost, misplaced, or have been forgotten.

Finding a life insurance policy can be difficult, especially if you are helping an elderly family member, or settling the estate of someone who has passed away.  And, the name of the insurance company may have changed or the insurance agent may have quit the business, moved, passed on, or retired.

If you’re not sure there was a life insurance policy, how are you supposed to get the payout by making a claim on the life insurance policy?

So, how do you find a lost life insurance policy, or find out if there was a life insurance policy at all?


Tips for Finding a Lost Life Insurance Policy:


Information You Will Need

To start your search for life insurance policy you’ll want to find out the personal details of the person who had the life insurance. This may require their full name, maiden name, social security number, and in which state the life insurance policy was purchased.

To make a death claim on a life insurance policy you will also need a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate.


To Get Started, Try to Determine:

  • Which insurance company issued the life insurance policy? There may be more than one life insurance policy from more than one life insurance company.
  • Which life insurance agent or broker may have sold the life insurance policy?
  • If the deceased may have purchased the coverage through their employer, union or association.

Once you have the name of the insurance company, you can search on the internet to find the contact information of the insurance company, including the insurer’s mailing address, email address, contact phone number, and information about how to make a claim on a life insurance policy.


Where to Find Information

If you are unable to locate the above information, you may want to try the strategies listed below:


Search Personal Records

  • If the insured died recently and you have the authority, search all files for a life insurance policy, records of insurance premium payments, and any bills from insurance companies. 
  • Contact the deceased’s employers, labor union, and fraternal order to check for any life insurance policies. Find and open any safe deposit boxes of the deceased. Monitor the person’s mail, e-mail, and online banking and bill payment services for premium invoices or any whole life insurance dividend notices.
  • Look in any storage areas for insurance-related documents.
  • Look through address books or online contact lists and emails for any insurance related listings for an insurance agent, broker or insurance company.
  • Contact the deceased’s attorney, accountant, financial advisor, banker, business associates or any other advisors.
  • If you are able to locate an application for life insurance, it may list ALL life insurance policies already existing for your loved one.
  • Review checkbooks and bank statements for any payments made to an insurance company, or any cancelled checks. Check for any automatic payments made to an insurance company.
  • Review tax statements for the previous 5 years to find out if there are claims for interest earned on life insurance policies.
  • Contact the person’s auto and home insurance agents. It’s possible these agents also handled the person’s life insurance coverage.

You can also contact the Department of Insurance in the state of residence of the deceased. Start your unclaimed life insurance policy search in the state in which you believe the life insurance policy may have been purchased. You can find contact information for state departments of insurance on the NAIC website.

Usually, any life insurance carrier that knows an insured has passed away, but cannot locate the beneficiary of the policy, are required to turn over the unclaimed life insurance benefits to the state’s unclaimed property office.

If you know which state the life insurance policy was issued in, you can check with the state insurance department about unclaimed property laws or check with the office that handles unclaimed property for that state.

You can visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators to find out if your name produces a hit for a potential benefactor of a life insurance policy. If so, you’ll need to prove your claim. Required documentation may vary by state, and is detailed in the claim forms, and a death certificate may be required.

You can contact the vital records office in the state where your relative died, or go to, which is the official document provider for more than 400 government agencies.


Contact The Insurer

If you know or believe a specific insurance carrier issued a life insurance policy for your family member, you can contact the insurer’s claim offices by phone or on the internet.

Not everyone is legally entitled to answers regarding a life insurance policy; however, the deceased’s executor and immediate family members including spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents may have the most legal standing.

The insurance company will know who the beneficiaries are, and if they determine you are a beneficiary, they will send you a claim packet to verify your identity so you can make a claim on the life insurance policy benefits.

The more information you have – including date of birth and death, social security number, last state of residence, and policy number – the better.


How to Avoid Lost Life Insurance Policies

Since you’ve gone to the trouble of purchasing and paying for life insurance to benefit your loved ones, take these helpful steps to make sure your beneficiaries won’t have any difficulty finding your life insurance policy in the future:

  • Update all life insurance beneficiary information. Make sure your insurance company and insurance agent have current contact details for all listed beneficiaries.
  • Make sure your beneficiaries know you have life insurance. Provide your beneficiaries with the name of your life insurance agent and the name of your life insurance company that issued your life insurance policy.
  • Make sure you have a current copy of your life insurance policy located with your will or estate paperwork in a safe place (fireproof) where your family members or beneficiaries will know to look for it and will have access to it.
  • Contact your life insurance company and ask for an annual life insurance policy statement if one isn’t provided from your insurer.


Additional Resources to Find Life Insurance Policy


National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators – Search unclaimed property records for 38 states and the Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

FindYourPolicy - Search the only worldwide insurance database to perform a lost life insurance policy search and locate lost policies.

Consumer Reports - Lost Life Insurance Policy Search

How to Locate a Life Insurance Benefit When You Don't Have the Policy - NAIC - Free Life Insurance Policy Search

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