Next Steps

Life Insurance Claims

While it's always easiest if someone leaves clear instructions about their accounts and policies, that is not always the case. But you can begin tracking any outstanding policies with this information.

Life Insurance Claims: Locating a Life Insurance Policy After the Death of a Loved One

How to Find a Life Insurance Policy after Death

If someone dies without leaving a letter of instruction, last will and testament, or other document specifying whether they purchased a life insurance policy, there are several ways to go about finding out if they did.

First, you'll need to know the deceased's full name (and maiden name, if applicable), Social Security number, and state (or possible states) they might have purchased a policy in. You'll also need a death certificate in order to actually make life insurance claims on any policy you find. Here are a few of the best ways to determine whether your spouse or loved one owned a life insurance policy that you or your family members stand to benefit from.

  • Confer with other close friends and family members to find out if the deceased ever mentioned owning a policy
  • Contact the deceased's attorney, banker, estate executor, or accountant to see if they have record or knowledge of any life insurance policy under the deceased's name. You should also check with the deceased's bank, as well as other local banks to see if the deceased might have stored this valuable information in a local safety deposit box
  • Look through available financial records such as checkbooks, bank statements, and tax returns to see if the deceased wrote checks for policy payments, made auto payments, or claimed interest on a policy on their tax returns.
  • Check with the insurance companies that the deceased purchased their car and home insurance through, in the event they also had a life insurance policy through that insurer
  • Check with the deceased's former employer or union. They may have purchased an employer-sponsored life insurance policy through work
  • Check with your state's insurance department, as well as their unclaimed property office. You can find the required contact info for your state's insurance department at the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's website. You can also search for unclaimed property (which includes life insurance claims) in any state on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrator's website.

Life insurance companies are legally required to search for beneficiaries once they become aware that their policy holder is deceased, but payouts are usually not issued automatically. If you are able to locate an active life insurance policy owned by your late spouse or loved one that you stand to benefit from, you and any other beneficiaries of that policy can contact the company directly to make your life insurance claims.

If you have additional questions about estate planning, creating a will, or creating a living trust, you can find all the answers you need in our Protective Learning Center.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Life Insurance Policy

When a loved one dies, you may be unsure as to whether or not they had a life insurance policy in order to make a life insurance claim. This article looks at the various options you have to help locate a policy in order to file a life insurance claim. For more information, visit our learning center.

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