Unfortunately it’s not an uncommon story; someone pays the required premiums on a life insurance policy for years and neglects, or forgets, to give the policy, or any information about the policy, to the intended beneficiary. The insured person passes, the policy documents can’t be found, if the beneficiary even knows about it, and the insurance money is never paid out. And those unpaid life insurance dollars run into the billions!
If you think that this is not happening, and you are the beneficiary on a loved one’s life insurance policy, just ask yourself these few simple questions:
1. Do you know the details of the policy?
2. Do you know the whereabouts of the policy?
3. If something happened today, would you know where to find the details?
If you answered, “no,” to any of these questions you’ve got big gaps in your knowledge which could lead to a real financial tragedy.
Further, if you even suspect that you may be a beneficiary, get the details now. Waiting until it’s too late to talk about it can, in addition to the grief caused by the passing of a loved one, cause severe financial hardship. These subjects, we know, are difficult ones to talk about. But to avoid the difficulties of not knowing, THEY MUSTBE TALKED ABOUT.
If, however, you have lost a loved one and are experiencing the difficulty of not knowing, there are some things that you can do. A few of them follow:
1. Go through your loved one’s financial documents for insurance company dividends or premium notices. Many people keep all their important documents in one place; often in a home office, a bedroom closet, or a safe deposit box at their bank.
2. Scan through their current and past checkbooks. It may be that the last premium is paid is recorded there.
3. Check your loved one’s cell phone contact lists and computer email addresses for the name of an insurance agent.
4. Get in touch with the current and/or previous employer who may have a record of a group policy. If your loved one was retired, group coverage may have been converted to individual coverage.
5. Monitor your loved one’s snail mail for a year. Watch for any correspondence from an insurance company.
6. If your loved one’s passing occurred some years ago, you can also check with unclaimed property office of any state where he/she may have lived. If an insurance company is aware of the passing of a policy holder but is unable to locate the beneficiary, after a period of time it has to turn the proceeds over to the state where policy was issued.
Finding a lost or misplaced life insurance policy can be a daunting task but there are ways… and your patience in searching could prove very rewarding. Also, there are services that will, for a fee, assist you in your search. http://www.LostPolicy.com is one such service. Insurance companies are not only willing to give the beneficiary their rightful due, they are obligated to. But it is the responsibility of survivors to make the required notifications and claim any proceeds.