The loss of a loved one is heart wrenching. It is often difficult to know what steps need to be taken to ensure the financial well being of your family after such an event. If you lost a loved one who had a life insurance policy, you will need to file a life insurance claim to receive your settlement. Life insurance can cover funeral costs and medical expenses and can act as a source of income for those left behind. To file a life insurance claim, you must be able to locate the insurer’s information. Unfortunately, sometimes these policies are difficult to find.
If you are unable to locate a life insurance policy, there are some ways you may be able to find it. There is no national or statewide database for life insurance policies, but with a little homework you should be able to track down the information you need to file your claim.
First, you should ask yourself some questions to start in the right direction:
• Which insurer might have issued the policy?
• Is there a particular insurance agent who may have sold the life insurance policy?
• Could the employer, union or trade association have offered life insurance?
The Insurance Information Institute provides helpful strategies that can be used to find a missing life insurance policy. These strategies are summarized below:
1. Search for documents that are related to insurance. Files, storage boxes and bank deposit boxes may have insurance documents. An address book may also list the name of an insurance agent who could have sold the policy.
2. Call financial professionals you currently use or have previously used. These professionals may include accountants, attorneys, investment advisors, bankers, insurance agents and anyone else involved in your personal finances.
3. Analyze other life insurance applications. A life insurance application will list any other policies that were held at the time.
4. Review check registers and cancelled checks. There may have been checks written to the life insurance company.
5. Check the mail for a year after the death. You may notice premium or dividend notices from the life insurance company. Insurers often send annual notices.
6. Contact Florida’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property. If the insurance company knows that the policyholder died, but can’t locate the beneficiary, the insurer will give the death benefit to the state.
7. Check with state insurance departments. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has created the Life Insurance Company Location System to help individuals find state insurance personnel who could possibly identify insurers that might have issued the policy.
8. Employ a private service to help find the policy. There are companies that will search for lost life insurance policies for a fee.
After you locate the life insurance policy, you will need to follow certain procedures to obtain your life insurance settlement. If the insurance company denies your claim for any reason, contact J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, a Florida life insurance claims attorney, at 866-71-CLAIM for legal advice.