How can a widow or widower find out if their deceased spouse had a life insurance policy?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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It can be difficult to locate an old insurance policy or even a new one in this age of digitally stored documents. There are several ways you can check to see if your spouse might have had a life insurance policy, including:

  • Ask your bank for copies of old bank statements to see if any payments were made to a life insurance company over the past two years. If you find any, call the company noted on the statement and explain your situation.
  • Look through old mail and bills to see if you can find anything from a life insurance company. If you find something, call the company and explain your situation.
  • Check with your state’s department of financial services (this may be called Department of Revenue, Office of State Treasurer, Treasury Department, in your state) to find out if you or your spouse has any unclaimed property issued by a life insurance company. Often, we buy insurance and accumulate cash value then allow the policy to lapse without realizing that we are still entitled to the cash value. If the insurance company cannot get in contact with us to give us the cash value for 5 or more years, the policy is escheated to the policyholder’s state of residence and listed as unclaimed property. If you find that you have unclaimed property not only can you claim the property but also you can call the company to see if any additional policies exist.

If you still come up with no evidence of a policy but you feel certain that your spouse had one, you can call the major life insurance companies and agents in your area to see if there is any record of your spouse in their records.

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