Could you have secret life insurance money waiting to be claimed?

When your loved one dies and you know you’re the beneficiary of their life insurance policy, getting the payout is typically pretty simple. You submit a claim form and a copy of the death certificate. Then the insurer usually pays the claim within a few weeks.

But what if you don’t know whether your family member had a life insurance policy? Or what if you can’t locate the policy documents? If no one notifies the company of the insured person’s death, it’s possible that money could go unclaimed. Even if your loved one died years ago, you could have unclaimed life insurance money because there’s no deadline on collecting benefits.

Wondering if you could have lost life insurance money out there? Keep reading to learn how to start your search.

How Do Life Insurance Companies Locate Beneficiaries?

Life insurance companies aren’t automatically notified when someone dies. They only find out the insured person has died when the beneficiary files a claim. If no one notifies the insurer of the person’s death, it’ll continue charging premiums. Sometimes when the premiums go unpaid, the company may deduct that money from the policy’s benefits.

However, it’s becoming increasingly rare for death benefits to go unclaimed. That’s because under the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act, most insurers check the Social Security Administration’s master death file semiannually to search for policyholders. If their search identifies someone who has died, they must attempt to locate the beneficiary within 90 days.

Not all states have adopted the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act, but most major insurers follow its recommendations.

Pro tip: Any death benefit you receive isn’t taxable and doesn’t need to be reported to the IRS. However, any interest you receive from the policy is taxable income.

6 Ways to Find Lost Life Insurance Money

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