What Happens To Insurance Benefits That Go Unclaimed?
general any unclaimed life insurance benefits, like other lost money, are
turned over to the Unclaimed Property Divisions of the States. That process
may take several years and doesn't begin until the insurance company is
made aware of the passing of the insured. Typically, the insurance
company will be allowed about three years to locate the beneficiary before
being required to submit the unclaimed insurance to the respective state
department. If you believe benefits are due you should first check
with Unclaimed Property department of the state of residence of the policy
holder. (Refer to our "States" page.
Also check any
previous state of residence.
If You Have A Copy Of The Policy and Need To Locate The Company:
If the company listed on the policy has moved or changed its name, you
should use our links to go to the Insurance
Department of the State listed on the policy.
These state departments will have current information about any changes
for the company's name, address, and any other changes, so that you will
know which company to contact and how to reach them. Often you will be
able to search online. You can also contact the State Insurance Department
by phone or letter to locate the company currently servicing the policy.
Note the States will not have records of individual policies.
Additionally, a list of insurance companies and their last known addresses
and phone numbers to help you research unclaimed insurance money can
be found on our
life insurance companies page.
Our list is quick and easy to use but is not as extensive or as current as
the records at the state insurance departments.
How to find a life insurance benefit if the policy is missing
Especially in the case of assisting an elderly loved one or settling the
estate of a loved one, finding a lost policy can be very difficult. The
National Association of Insurance Commissioners makes the following recommendations
to help locate a policy.
To begin, gather personal details of the insured
individual including full name, maiden name for a married
individual, Social Security number and the state of residence when the
policy would have been purchased if possible. Once a benefit is located
you'll also need a copy of the death certificate. You need to determine
the name of the insurance company and/or the name of the broker or agent
who sold the policy.
- Evidence of premium payments
- Applications for insurance
- Bills for premiums
- Bank records of automatic deposits or payments
Where to look:
- Canceled checks
- Credit card statements
- Old bills
- Bank statements
- Address books, files, safety deposit box
- Hospital records - possibly health insurance has a death benefit
- Loan records - there might have been credit life insurance
- Ask friends and neighbors about insurance agents or companies they might
- Check with insurance agents for auto, homeowners, or other insurance held
by the deceased. Often several type of insurance are purchased from the same
agent or company.
- Check income tax returns for interest earned from insurance policies.
- Monitor mail for the succeeding year after an insured has passed for any
billing for insurance premiums.
the insurance company customer service or human relations department to obtain
policy numbers and claim forms as may be appropriate. Search online with the
links above for contact information.
Other Useful Links
A database provided by New York Life allowing customers to search for unclaimed
insurance money is available at NewYorkLife.com
The VA provides an Unclaimed Insurance Funds search page at the VA website Department
of Veterans Affairs .
Get a list of insurance
companies in Receivership at Florida
Department of Financial Services (includes link to Receiverships in Other
States) Liquidation of an insurance
company may have financial consequences to policy holders.