How to find an unclaimed life insurance policy

What you should know

  • Life insurance benefits can not be claimed for various reasons, such as incorrect beneficiary information or missing policies
  • The Unclaimed Life Insurance Act helps beneficiaries find lost insurance payments and ensures that life insurance companies send unclaimed money back to the state
  • There are many ways to find unclaimed life insurance benefits, even if it takes years

Life insurance payments may only be claimed if the insurance company can find a beneficiary or the beneficiary was aware of the policy. Fortunately, life insurance policies can be found unclaimed, no matter how much time has passed.

Keep reading to learn how to find an unclaimed life insurance policy and file a claim.

Reasons for not claiming life insurance policies

One of the advantages of purchasing life insurance is that your loved ones receive financial security after you are gone. However, recipients may not know about the policy, or information may be lost over time.

If you think your insurance policy is missing, there are different ways to find these unclaimed policies. Check this table for tips on finding unclaimed insurance payments.

Ways to track unclaimed life insurance policies

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Search financial records, personal files, and tax forms Conduct a thorough search of personal records, bank statements, address books, and tax returns to the IRS to find information related to life insurance policies.
Check with previous employers, and occupational groups Contact employers, professional associations, and former unions to inquire about any life insurance policies offered by the deceased’s workplace or subsidiaries.
Search company websites to locate life insurance policies Visit the websites of life insurance companies such as John Hancock, MetLife, and New York Life, which may provide online search tools to help locate policies.
Avail life insurance policy seekers from government, state and industry Use resources like the Social Security Administration’s “Death Master” file, state insurance departments, and online policy finders to locate unclaimed policies.
Pay to help select life insurance policies Consider using paid search services or searching the MIB Group database, which may provide information about insurance applications filed for US and Canadian insurance companies.

Because the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act is active in 33 states, beneficiaries in those states receive assistance in finding lost insurance policies.

Check out this article to learn more about how life insurance works.

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How to find out if a life insurance policy exists

There are several ways to find out if someone has life insurance. First, the real estate executor or financial advisor for the insured may have information about the insurance policy.

Then, you can find policy information through the insured’s possessions, such as bank statements or mail.

Finally, many online resources help you do unclaimed research on a life insurance policy. While some of these sites are free, others require payment.

Locate an unclaimed life insurance policy

Millions of dollars each year are unclaimed by life insurance policies. Although getting accurate numbers is a challenge, this table shows how much money might be out there waiting to be claimed.

Lost money for unclaimed life insurance

border Valuable
US population 331 million
Percentage of beneficiaries to the population One beneficiary for every 600 people
Estimated number of beneficiaries $551,667
Average interest per policy 2000 dollars
Total estimated unclaimed money from life insurance policies $1,103,334,000

Keep reading to learn how to locate lost life insurance policies and claim the life insurance death benefits available to you.

Tools and resources for finding unclaimed insurance policies

If you think you should receive unclaimed beneficiary money, there are several ways to look for unclaimed policies.

This table details ways to search for unclaimed life insurance policies.

Steps to find an unclaimed life insurance policy

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Find the insurance policy papers Look for insurance policy papers, premium payment receipts, bank statements, or any insurance-related communication.
Navigate to a missing policy selector Utilize the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Policy Locator Service or similar services to ask insurance companies to check their files.
Find an insurance company If evidence of a policy is found, locate and contact the insurance company to file a claim.
Make sure you are looking at the right case Determine the state in which the policy was purchased and check any previous states the person may have lived in.
Check with rating services Check with insurance rating agencies such as AM Best to find information about insurance companies, including those that no longer exist.
Find a financial link Reach out to professionals who handled the deceased’s finances, such as accountants, financial planners, or insurance agents.
Search unclaimed property files Use databases such as to search for unclaimed property in most states.
Contact the previous employers of the deceased Check with former employers, labor unions, or professional associations to determine if life insurance coverage was provided.
Pay to search the MIB database Use the MIB database search to track insurance companies, especially in cases where there is certainty of an unclaimed life insurance policy.

Remember that there is no deadline for finding unclaimed insurance policies. Insurance companies do not hold unclaimed payments and help beneficiaries file claims thanks to the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act. Unclaimed money returns to the state. Although the money may move to the state, you can still receive insurance payments.

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Find the beneficiary of the life insurance policy

Often the insurance company is not aware of the death of the insured unless it is told. When the company finds out, it contacts the beneficiaries to begin the claims process. However, if the beneficiary’s information is incorrect or he or she is deceased, the benefits may accrue to the estate.

You can change your life insurance beneficiary whenever you like, but you must also change the contact information. Tell the beneficiary of the policy, including the insurance company and policy number, to make it easier for them to obtain the return.

Read more here to learn how to choose a life insurance beneficiary.

How to claim unpaid life insurance benefits

Once you find a life insurance policy, you need to know how to file a life insurance claim. Each life insurance company has its own claims procedure, but you will probably have to provide the death certificate of the insured as well as verify your information.

What you need to know about finding unclaimed life insurance

Even the best life insurance companies have unclaimed policies. If you think you may be a beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy, there are many ways to find the policy.

If you can’t find the information through the insured, consider online services to help locate missing policies. After several years determined by the state, the unclaimed life insurance money is transferred to the state treasury and listed on the state’s website.

Although there is no time limit for claiming life insurance benefits, it is easier for beneficiaries if they have updated policy information. Otherwise, it could take years for your loved ones to receive the financial security you had planned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a life insurance policy go without a claim?

Yes, if the life insurance company cannot identify the beneficiaries of the policy, the payment will not be claimed. In addition, some beneficiaries may not know that they are included in a life insurance policy.

How many unclaimed life insurance policies each year?

Millions of dollars in unclaimed life insurance benefits each year. It is estimated that more than $1.1 billion in life insurance payments are unclaimed.

What happens to unclaimed life insurance money?

When the insurance company determines that life insurance payments are not claimed, they are transferred to the state treasury. There is no time limit on unclaimed insurance money, and many states allow you to search online for unclaimed money.

How do I get a copy of a lost life insurance policy?

Locating a life insurance policy can be difficult. Contact them for a copy if you remember the insurance company that issued the policy.

However, if you are looking for someone else’s lost policy, you may have to dig through bank records, safety deposit boxes, and other personal items to find information about the lost policy.

How long does it take for a life insurance policy to be considered unclaimed?

State laws specify how long a life insurance company must declare unclaimed benefits. While the length of time varies, unclaimed death benefits are delivered to the state treasury office where the insured lives.

How do I check for unclaimed life insurance in my state?

The National Unclaimed Property Administrators Association (NAUPA) allows people to search for unclaimed life insurance benefits in their state. In addition, many state treasury offices allow you to search for unclaimed money online.

How do I know if my old life insurance policy is still good?

First, check with the insurance company that issued the policy. If the company is sold, it may take legal action to find the new policy. Then you can also use websites to help find your lost life insurance policy.

Is it hard to find unclaimed life insurance policies?

While many organizations offer assistance in finding no-claim life insurance, finding these policies can be time-consuming. If you think you may be a beneficiary, start the process early to find your unclaimed insurance money quickly.

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Rachel Brennan

Licensed insurance agent

Rachel Brennan has been in the insurance industry since 2006 when she started working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she held her property and casualty license in all 50 states. Several years later, she expanded her expertise in the insurance field, earning a license in health insurance and AD&D insurance as well. I worked for a small health in…

Benjamin Carr

Former state farm insurance agent

Benjamin Carr has worked as a licensed insurance agent at State Farm and Tennant Special Risk. He sold various lines of coverage and informed his clients about their life, health and property/accident insurance needs. Assessing risk and helping people find the best coverage for their needs is his passion. He appreciates that insurance is designed to protect people, especially in times…

Former state farm insurance agent

Editorial Tips: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective third party source for all things life insurance. We update our website regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

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