Imagine this scenario: Your auto insurance company owes you a premium check, so they send it through the mail. You never receive it because you moved and forgot to alert them to your new address. A few months go by, and the company does its due diligence by mailing you a letter reminding you to cash the check. However, you never receive that letter either. After 180 days, the company voids the check, but what happens to the money you are owed? Your check becomes an unclaimed asset and you will have to do a bit of work to claim it – if you even know it exists, that is.
Background on Car Insurance Premium Checks
In order to understand whether you may have a car insurance premium check waiting for you somewhere, it’s important to understand what these checks are. Basically, if you have ever canceled an auto insurance policy before the term was up, chances are the company owed you money back. Usually, once a policy is canceled, the company adds a credit to your account and the credit is paid out several weeks after cancelation. If the company fails to make you aware of the credit – or you forget to ask about it – it could be the start of another unclaimed auto insurance premium check, especially if you canceled the policy because you were moving.
What to Do if You Think Your Former Car Insurance Company Owes You a Premium Check
If the above scenario sounds like something that may have happened to you, you’ll have to do some digging to find whatever money you may be owed. Depending on how long it’s been since you canceled your auto insurance policy, your money will be in one of two places:
In the Company’s Unclaimed Funds Account
Since it’s so common for people to neglect to cash their auto insurance premium checks, every state has laws about how long the company must retain your funds. Sometimes, it’s a matter of months, while states like New Jersey require five years. So, the best place to start is to call the company and inquire about the funds you believe are owed to you. Even if you never received the letter detailing your premium details, you should be able to provide other account information like name and address to access the details and file a claim to get your premium paid out.
In the State Treasury Office
If the time period for the insurance company to hold your money has passed, it will be transferred to the state’s treasury office in the state where you purchased the policy. If this has happened, you’ll be able to use the state’s unclaimed assets search tool to look for your check. Every state’s tool is a bit different, but they are all free to use and accessible through the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA). If you find an unclaimed car insurance premium here, you’ll also find information on how to claim what you are owed. Usually, you will need to provide certain documents in order to prove your identity.
Since it’s so common for people to have unclaimed car insurance premiums, it’s worth it to do a quick search for yourself. After all, you may just find a pleasant surprise that boosts your finances a bit.