Possible beneficiaries can search for unclaimed life insurance benefits by looking through personal paperwork, contacting insurance companies and former employers of the decedent, and accessing state unclaimed property office databases, reports Bankrate. There are also policy locator services that charge fees to go through their databases, states Nolo.
Those who suspect their relatives left hidden life insurance policies should check mail, email, online banking services and personal records of the decedent for policies, premium invoices, or insurance bills, according to Consumer Reports. Old tax records may yield evidence of insurance policy payments, states Nolo. Families who habitually deal with the same insurance company can use online search features or phone the company to request assistance. Potential beneficiaries can also contact former employers and unions the decedent was a member of to ask about possible life insurance policies. Although the time limit for holding abandoned money varies, eventually companies are required to turn over unclaimed life insurance benefits to state unclaimed property offices, which hold the funds indefinitely for the beneficiaries and allow free searches of their databases, reports CNN Money.
Those searching for unclaimed life insurance benefits should beware of scammers who charge large upfront fees or percentages to supposedly facilitate the search, warns AARP. State law usually restricts legitimate insurance locating companies to no more than 10 percent of found benefits as a commission. Those contacted by companies claiming to have found benefits should verify company credentials and never give out bank or credit card information.