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The problem of lost life insurance policies

This guest post comes from Angie Picardo at NerdWallet. It's amazing how many people pay for life insurance for years and years but then don't give their beneficiaries the information needed to make the claim. According to Consumer Reports, there are over $1 billion in forgotten and lost life insurance policies that have gone unclaimed. If you have been wondering where to look for life insurance you think is lost, there are plenty of resources available to assist you in your search. If you're lucky, you'll know which life insurance company held the policy on your deceased relative. Then it's a simply matter of contacting the company directly and initiating the claim paperwork. If you aren't sure if there was a life insurance policy, it certainly won't hurt to do some research to check. It would be a shame if that person paid into a policy for many years, only to have it go undiscovered. Labor unions, fraternal orders and former employers should be contacted to see if they provided a life insurance policy as a part of membership. Websites like Missing Money are designed to help you search for any unclaimed benefits in your state for immediate family members.… (continue reading......)

Aruba life insurance 'whodunit' has no happy ending

aruba2 I know some screenwriter is already hard at work on this story. It has everything it needs to be a Lifetime movie - except the happy ending. A middle-aged man of the world sweeps a blond, somewhat naïve woman off her feet and whisks her away on romantic five-day trip to Aruba. Along the way he purchases insurance coverage on her with an American Express travel accident protection policy containing the ominous words, "We will pay the applicable benefit if the Covered Person suffers an Accidental Death or Dismemberment." He is the beneficiary. Once in Aruba, the pair is supposed to go snorkeling. But according to witnesses, they never leave the beach. The lady vanishes about 4:15 p.m.; the man doesn't inform anyone that she's missing until 6 p.m. This is the tale of 51-year-old Gary Giordano, the only suspect in the Aug. 2, 2011, disappearance of his traveling companion, Robyn Gardner. Unheeded red flag According to press accounts, Giordano took out a travel accident protection policy from American Express on Gardner that pays off the beneficiary if something happens to the person who's traveling, provided the trip doesn't last more than a year. The usual amount of such travel… (continue reading......)

Keep your spouse from stealing your life insurance

Couple crisis If your marriage is in trouble and divorce is looming, a lawyer will probably advise you to secure your assets from your soon-to-be-ex-partner. That's not as easy as it sounds - especially if assets are held jointly. But there is a legal remedy: Open a bank account solely in your name, apply for your own credit card, read statements carefully to see that the charge accounts you still hold jointly aren't overdrawn and make sure the mortgage is paid. And I suggest you don't overlook one issue that could fly under the radar: life insurance. Here's a real-life case study. No trouble getting into trouble When Melissa and her husband were married, each one took out a life insurance policy naming the other as beneficiary so the survivor could pay off the home mortgage if either of them died. The policies were universal life insurance, so after two years either spouse could start borrowing against his or her own policy when needing cash. A couple of years and a child later, the trouble began. Melissa's husband had a spotty employment record, but had no trouble taking out credit cards in her name, which he then maxed out. And it wasn't… (continue reading......)

Why women hate me for being well-insured

dont-hate-me After a recent flight to New York, I was delighted when my homeowners insurance company reimbursed me for my lost luggage. You're probably thinking, "What a lovely insurer." But while it is lovely, it wasn't a surprise. At least not for me. Throughout my adult life, I've regularly been well-insured. Once, as I was walking through my burnt shell of a house, I was tapped on the shoulder and presented with a beautiful debit card for my hotel bills. Even windshield-repair men frequently shoo my credit card away when I try to settle my glass bill -- I have full auto glass coverage. And whenever I've asked what I've done to deserve such treatment, the insurance adjusters have always said the same thing: My policy covers it. If you're reading this, I'd hazard that you've already formed your own opinion about me -- and it won't be very flattering. For while many doors have been opened (and replaced, literally) as a result of my insurance, just as many have been slammed in my face -- and usually by my underinsured neighbors. Only my friend Samantha's beauty has provoked as much envy and ill behavior from those less fortunate. I'm not… (continue reading......)

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