Lost Insurance

Unclaimed Insurance Money and Lost Insurance Policies

If You Have A Copy Of The Policy and Just Need To Locate The Company:   Go To Our Insurance Company List

What Happens To Insurance Benefits That Go Unclaimed?

In 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 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 or lost:

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.

Look for:

  • 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 know about
  • 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.

Contact 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

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