If you're curious about how to search for unclaimed insurance policies for free, you're not alone. Thousands of people have discovered that they're owed hundreds of dollars or more from unclaimed insurance policies.
Search for Unclaimed Insurance Policies for Free
If you suspect that a loved one owned life insurance but were unable to find proof within the deceased's legal papers, bank statements, or files, you may be able to try a free search on one of your state's websites. Other types of insurance may also provide income or payments and these too may go into the unclaimed assets category.
Each state sets its own rules for how long property must lie dormant before it's marked unclaimed. In most states, financial assets and life insurance policy payments are marked unclaimed if they remain dormant for three to five years. During the period leading up to the time an asset is declared unclaimed, the company holding onto the asset must make a good faith attempt to contract the property owner.
Finding Unclaimed Insurance Policies
Life insurance and health insurance policies may go unclaimed when payments from such policies get lost. This can happen if the heirs or recipients move and forget to note a forwarding address or if their accounts remain dormant for several years.
Websites such as MyUnclaimed.com help visitors search for unclaimed funds and provides links to each of the 50 state offices where you can search for unclaimed funds.
An Example of How to Search
Click on the state in which you live or lived during the time you think the insurance payment may have gone missing. Although some websites promise a nationwide search, you may have a better chance of locating the unclaimed insurance money if you can simplify your search to just one or two states.
Using New York as an example, the state controller's office website has a simple search box in which you can type in your last name. Typing in just the last name yields the most comprehensive results; each person with that last name who has money owed to him comes up in the search. Scanning down the list, you can easily see the name you're looking for and the company that owes the money. All types of unclaimed financial assets are listed from dormant bank accounts to life insurance and health insurance policy payments. The amount is not listed, however, so don't get your hopes up that you'll become an instant millionaire if your name appears on the list.
Submitting a Claim
If you find a match to the name you're seeking, you'll need to submit an inquiry and/or a claim form. Again, each state varies in how it handles the claim, but generally there are one or two steps, each intended to prove that you have a legal right to the unclaimed money. You will need to prove that you are indeed the person listed as the owner of the unclaimed forms and you will need to submit a legal form attesting that you have the right to claim the money. Common identification required includes a driver's license, your social security card, proof of residence, and proof of your relationship with the company listing the asset. An unclaimed health insurance payment, for example, may require you to show a copy of a policy or health insurance identification care that proves you had some sort of relationship with the company.
What if you find money owed to someone in your family who is deceased? In this instance, the legal heir or the executor of the estate needs to complete the claim form. Be prepared to prove that you are indeed the legal heir and/or executor and submit proof of identity such as your driver's license. Each state may have slightly different requirements, so follow the procedure outlined on each state's unclaimed property website.
Preventing Unclaimed Insurance
Executing a search for unclaimed insurance policies for free and submitting the proper documentation takes time and can be a hassle. It's better to prevent your assets from falling into the unclaimed asset category in the first place.
- Keep a file for each of your financial assets, such as your bank accounts, financial investments, and insurance policies.
- Provide a list of financial, investment, and insurance companies you deal with on a routine basis to your legal executor or attorney.
- Submit a change of address and forwarding order to the post office if you move so that insurance statements are sent on to your new home.
- Note any assets such as safe deposit boxes, which may be easy to forget about if you don't use them frequently, in your files.
An insurance company may owe you nothing or it may owe you thousands of dollars if you have an unclaimed insurance policy on file. Begin your search and exercise patience because it may pay off.