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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

How do I find out if my father or mother had insurance policies that were not cashed in? I would be the beneficiary.

Go through their paperwork to find evidence of premium payments. Look through canceled checks and credit card statements, and contact their former employers to see if they had group life insurance. You should also look through files, safety deposit boxes and other storage areas for insurance-related documents, and check address books for contact information of insurance agents or life insurance companies.

Other sources to contact include prior financial advisors who may know about life insurance policies. Finally, look through your parents' tax returns for the last couple of years to see if they reported interest income from and interest expenses paid to life insurance companies.

A variety of services are available to help beneficiaries find lost life insurance policies:

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' "Life Insurance Company Location System" provides contact information for state insurance departments that could help you identify companies that could have written a policy on your mom or dad.
  • FindYourPolicy.com provides a service that lets policyholders register their names and insurance company names. You can search the database for a fee to see if your parents registered.
  • The MIB Group maintains a database of insurance application information for 14 years. You pay a fee to do a record search through MIB's Policy Locator Service.
  • The Lost Life Insurance Finder Expert service, run by a retired insurance professional, will fax letters to 460 customer service centers at insurance companies to inquire whether your parents had purchased life insurance policies that named you as beneficiary.
  • If the policy naming you as a beneficiary has been deemed unclaimed and transferred to the state, you can find it by conducting a free online search for missing money on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators' MissingMoney.com website.

For more see how to find lost life insurance policies

Last updated: May. 10, 2011