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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

How can I find out if my late father had life insurance to pay for burial expenses?

Burial or funeral insurance policies are life insurance policies with low face values, typically less than $25,000. They are marketed to people who want just enough life insurance to pay for funeral expenses and they are purchased directly from insurance companies.

To see if your father purchased one of these policies or any other type of life insurance, go through his checking account records and credit card statements to look for evidence of premium payments to a life insurance company. Also, check paperwork in filing cabinets, safety deposit boxes and other storage areas. If your dad worked with any financial advisors, contact those professionals to see if they know about any life insurance purchases.

You can also pay a fee to a service to help you determine whether your dad bought a policy.

A retired insurance professional runs the Lost Life Insurance Finder Expert, which will fax letters to 460 customer service centers at life insurance companies to inquire whether your dad purchased any policies and named you as a beneficiary. Another possible source of help is MIB Group, which maintains a database of insurance application information for 14 years. You pay a fee to request a record search through its Policy Locator Service.

Did your father make any plans for his funeral? Check with the funeral professionals he consulted to see if he purchased a pre-need insurance policy. A pre-need policy is life insurance purchased directly from a funeral home. In some states, the buyer names the funeral director as the beneficiary; in other states, the buyer names a loved one as the beneficiary.

For more see how to find lost life insurance policies and tips for buying pre-need and final expense insurance.



Last updated: May. 23, 2011