Life Insurance

Getting Our Records In Order And Unclaimed Life Insurance

I have always been pretty well organized and kept good records of important financial details and anything of importance that needed to be kept in a safe place.  I have life insurance in place and if anything were to happen to me, I thought I had everything planned out and in order. Lying on my primasleep mattress and thinking I was a bit surprised to find out I didn’t have everything in order.

Do I need to have Life Insurance? 

I took ill a few months back and was seriously sick for quite some time.  This worried my wife, as it would, and her mind started wandering off to the «what will I do if something were to happen to my husband?»

As I mentioned I have life insurance in place and my wife is the beneficiary and she has a copy of the policy in a safe place and knows what to do if God forbid anything were to happen to me, just as I do for her as well.  But there were a few details I hadn’t kept up with or kept my wife in the loop.

While we have a joint bank account for our house and housekeeping bills, we each have separate bank accounts as well.  In addition to a few small investments I have.  Over the years I have forgotten to keep my wife in the loop of these and also how to access my bank account if she had to in case of illness or my untimely death.  To me untimely is any age before age 100.

So being ill as I was forced me to rethink that I had my financial affairs in order and my wife and myself sat down and put pen to paper, and added the additional information my wife would need and what I may need for her if one of us was to die.

This caused me to think that I’m sure there are many people out there that do not have their affairs in order.  Also, that others may have life insurance in place but have not notified family or friends of what to do if they were to die and possibly even advise someone they are a beneficiary on a life insurance policy.

An example is a good friend of mine who is now divorced/single and has no children.  He has no family left, no parents or siblings and if anything were to happen to him, while he has insurance and assets such as property and investments, there is no one to leave it to. His Will may state how to dispose of any assets, but who will know what to do with any other personal items, or what insurances may be in place, where to find copies of the policies, etc.  All this needs to be written out for the executor of his estate to know and deal with.

Then I read where there are literally millions of pounds and dollars in unclaimed life insurance policies.

Apparently, there are a lot of folks who do just not leave good records behind if they should die but also have not informed any friends or relatives of any life insurance policies in place.

According to a study done by Consumer Reports, which is a consumer testing and guideline magazine in America, 1 out of 600 people is a beneficiary on an unclaimed life insurance policy.  The average benefit for these policies is around $2, 000.

Insurance companies

Insurance companies do try and locate or find the beneficiaries on these policies. Some insurance companies have entire offices and departments just to locate the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.  But they cannot always be successful in their searches.

So what could you do if a relative has died and you are unsure if they had any life insurance or not?  That can take some work.  You can look through all their paperwork in their homes to see if any insurance policy is mentioned or any insurance company has sent any post to them.  You can contact their most recent or former employer to inquire if any insurance was in place through their jobs.  In addition to contacting their bank(s) to inquire there as well.

Did your deceased relative have any contents insurance, car insurance, or any kind of insurance?  Then by contacting the insurance agent or broker who sold them the policies and the companies in question you may find there was a life insurance policy with that insurer as well.  People tend to work with the same companies.

A sure-fire way to know you are not the beneficiary if you do locate a life insurance policy is that the insurer will not speak with you.  They would only speak to the beneficiary once they have been identified.


Obviously, the best way to handle this type of situation is not to wait until the time comes to place a claim, but to get relatives and those you know to get all their paperwork together prior to death and to sit down and talk about it, that way there are no surprises or financial losses.