How to Find Out if a Deceased Person Had Life Insurance

A man types on his laptop's keyboard to search online how he can discover if someone had life insurance

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, one of the primary things on your mind might be how to manage their final expenses. Life insurance isn’t just for paying for funerals, final healthcare expenses and outstanding debts. It’s also a way to help provide for the future.

But what do you do if you’re unsure about an insurance policy for the recently departed family member? How do you find out if a deceased person had life insurance?

At SelectQuote, we’re dedicated to helping you find affordable life insurance that meets your needs. Part of that process is clearly designating beneficiaries for your life insurance policy and helping communicate that information to them. If you’re unsure about whether your loved one had insurance, we have some tips for how to locate a lost life insurance policy.

Ways to Find a Lost Life Insurance Policy

The methods of finding life insurance can be as involved as rummaging through filing cabinets and storage areas to contacting state officials or a life insurance company. There’s a good chance that if your loved one had a life insurance policy, the following life insurance policy search process can help you find it and file your claim for the death benefit.

1. Search the unclaimed life insurance database.

One of the most basic ways to check for a life insurance policy is to use the NAIC’s life insurance policy locator tool. This life insurance locator tool requests that participating companies look through their records for life insurance policies or annuities in the name of the deceased. If you are the designated beneficiary, the NAIC instructs companies to contact you with their findings. 

2. Look for a copy of the life insurance policy.

While the NAIC goes through their process, you might also want to do your own life insurance search. Look through filing cabinets and storage areas in the home of your loved one for more information. In some cases, you’ll find the original paperwork for the insurance policy, paid premium notices or another paper trail to give you more information.

The life insurance policy paperwork will include a policy number, contact information for the insurance company and details on the amount of coverage and insurance term length, if applicable. 

3. Contact the life insurance company.

You will likely need to contact the life company of the deceased to cancel those policies. Make a point of asking whether or not the company has a life insurance policy on file and explain the situation. In many cases, an insurance company is only made aware that a policyholder has died because they receive a claim form.

4. Search for digital files.

If your loved one made a habit of scanning documents or focused on cutting down on waste by moving to electronic documentation, you can search their computer or email inbox for information related to their life insurance policy. In addition to communication from the insurance company, don’t forget to look for bank statements, credit card statements or other documentation that could reveal paid premiums.

5. Contact the deceased’s financial advisor.

If the deceased worked with a financial advisor to handle trusts, investments, wealth management and insurance, you should reach out to the company or agent to determine the existence of a life insurance policy. Some financial advisors sell insurance too, so they may be able to help you locate documentation regarding any outstanding life insurance policies.

What happens if a life insurance policy goes unclaimed?

Unclaimed life insurance benefits are a rare problem, but it does exist. If a life insurance policy goes unclaimed, there are a couple of things that happen. Insurance companies usually rely on beneficiaries to find out that someone has died. Companies will regularly check a database provided by the Social Security Administration called the Master Death List against their records.

If they discover a policyholder has recently died, they’ll work to send claim forms to the most recent listed beneficiary. If none can be found, they will usually forward the policy amounts to the state treasurer or unclaimed property administrators for that beneficiary or policyholder’s most recent state of residence. In many cases, benefits can be found by searching that state’s database of unclaimed property. An interested party can make a claim on those funds, usually by providing a valid ID and a certified death certificate.

SelectQuote can help you understand your life insurance policy.

One of the best ways to avoid life insurance confusion is to shop for life insurance with someone who can help guide you through the whole process. At SelectQuote, our team of licensed insurance agents can help you by comparing rates from several trusted life insurance carriers at once.

Eliminate future issues with your insurance policy’s death benefits. Let SelectQuote help you save time and money. Get started on your free life insurance quote today.

We do the shopping. You do the saving.