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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

How can I find out if my relative had life insurance?

Unfortunately, there's no clearinghouse of information on life insurance policies. Here are some suggestions:

  • Go through canceled checks or contact your deceased relative's bank for copies of old checks. If he or she wrote checks to pay premiums, the insurer's name should be listed on the checks.
  • Check old credit card statements. Your relative may have paid premiums by credit card.
  • Check probate court records. If the estate has gone through or is in probate court, a life insurance policy could show up as an asset.
  • Contact the relative's employer to see if your relative had group life insurance.
  • Contact other family members (i.e., brothers, sisters, or children) who may have been privy to your relative's finances. Perhaps they will know if he or she had insurance and from whom it was purchased. Also ask your relative's lawyer, banker or accountant.
  • Check your relative's car for an insurance card, then track the agent: He may have sold him or her a life insurance policy or at least know from whom it may have been purchased.
  • If your relative bought life insurance within the last seven years, there might be a trail of the companies to which he/she applied. The MIB maintains a database of information contained in life, health and disability applications. Record searches can be requested through the MIB and cost $75.

For more, read how to find missing life insurance policies.

Last updated: Dec. 7, 2009