When your job has life insurance available, you need to list people as dependents on your policy so that once you die the money that you have accrued will go to those people. However, if you don’t tell those people that they are listed on your policy, then after you die it will be deemed as unclaimed life insurance, meaning that there is money sitting there with your name on it that you just haven’t touched.
So what are you supposed to do if you have a sneaking suspicion that there might be a life insurance policy out there that’s now your money but hasn’t been claimed yet?
According to Bankrate, the American Council of Life Insurers did say that they make efforts to find the rightful owners of life insurance money when the policies have been unclaimed. “Insurance companies proactively search for beneficiaries; in fact, some companies have whole offices dedicated to that purpose,” said a spokesperson for the company.
However, a study by Consumer Reports said that one out of 600 people is the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy that has an average benefit of $2,000. Meaning that this small percentage of people has a chance to tap into an unknown savings.
If you think that you might be the beneficiary of an unclaimed life insurance policy, there are things that you can do to rightfully claim that money, though. So don’t fret!
- Look for policy paperwork. If you’re the executor of a deceased loved one’s estate, you’ll want to look through all safes and safety deposit boxes to check through personal files and see if anything exists. You’ll also be able to see if they paid premiums and who they paid to so you can see if there is access to an online account where you can access any of the information and see if you can access the money.
- Look for the insurance policy company. If you’re able to locate information about an existing policy and can identify which company it’s through, then most of the work has already been done. If you can’t find this information, then you’ll want to contact your state insurance department to see if they can help you locate that information. If you have the insurance company’s name then you’ll just need to follow their process for filing a claim on their website.
- Look for the policy in the correct state. You need to make sure you know what state the life insurance was filed in. Even if the person died in another state, you need to know where they lived when they first filed for life insurance. And if the company went out of business then you’ll be able to talk to the state insurance commissioner about the existing records to see what happened to the previous policies.
You’ll also want to keep in mind whether or not the person who filed for life insurance worked with a financial planner or an accountant. If you know that they had one on retainer that they worked with regularly, then you can go to that person and also find out what the records say.