Few things are more painful than the loss of a loved one. After the final services, it may be tough to spend months untangling their affairs. The grieving process only gets harder when you have to grapple with missing financial information—or worse, conflicts over their final wishes.
If you suspect the departed may have had a life insurance policy, you may be eager to track down the details, which is especially important if you think you could receive money as the beneficiary. Luckily, a new service from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) may make the search process easier.
You can use NAIC’s free tool to search for missing life insurance policies and annuity contracts. After filling out the online form, NAIC will contact participating insurance companies. If they uncover a policy for your deceased loved one—and you have the authority to receive the details—the insurance company in question will contact you directly. It may take up to 90 days to get a response.
The insurance company may ask for additional details, like a notarized death certificate or documentation proving you have the authority to receive the policy details. You can learn more about the process on NAIC’s FAQs page.
Before submitting the application, however, NAIC expects that you have already completed a “diligent search” for the life insurance policy. To do this, the Insurance Information Institute suggests following these steps:
- Check storage and bank safe deposit boxes for documents.
- Contact your loved one’s financial advisors.
- Look for life insurance applications.
- Call past employers and ask about the company’s life insurance policies.
- Review bank statements for any insurance payments.
- Watch your loved one’s mail for insurance statements.
- Review past tax returns for policy activity like interest or deductions.
- Reach out to your state’s unclaimed property office.
- Don’t forget about possible Canadian life insurance policies.
- Search the MIB database for a fee.