Does any of the $1 billion in unclaimed life insurance belong to you? The Wall Street Journal has reported that state regulators estimate that there is $1 billion owed in death benefits that has not been paid.
It is thought that insurance companies are using the Social Security database to cut off annuity payments, but NOT to determine whether death benefits should be paid.
How to Find Unclaimed Life Insurance Policies
- Comb through all paperwork to locate policies, billings, or dividend statements
- Review checkbook registers, cancelled checks, and online bank accounts to see if any premiums have been paid
- Check the mail carefully for one full year after the death of your loved one to discover premium billings, dividend statements, or messages from life insurance agents or companies
- Look through address books for the contact information for insurance agents
- Review contents of fire boxes, fire safes, and safe deposit boxes
- Contact previous places of employment
- Contact insurers directly. For example, MetLife’s “Policy Finder” website is at www.metlife.com/policyfinder and Prudential Financial Inc. has a toll free number, 1-800-778-2255.
- Contact your state’s insurance regulator.
- Use www.policylocator.com ($75 fee)
When contacting life insurance agencies or organizations, have as much information on your loved one as possible, including the full name, maiden name, address, date of birth, date of death, and Social Security number.
In addition, avoid having the life insurance on your life lost to the $1 billion unclaimed life insurance pile. Instead, keep your life insurance policies with your estate planning documents and other important papers. Let your loved ones know where you keep this information.
Legacy APC, A Trusts & Estates Law Firm is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.