Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Life Insurance Policy

Learning whether someone actually had a life insurance policy can actually be complex, but the best way to start is by looking through their personal papers.

A life insurance policy is usually the way that a family member provides some financial stability to a family in case of their untimely passing.

The death of someone close to you can be difficult; however, it is even more difficult if there is an uncertain financial future involved because they offered the majority of the financial support or contributed to the financial well-being of the family.

It is important to note right now that it is very common for family members, even a spouse, to be unaware that a life insurance policy exists. Many people simply don’t want to discuss their deaths and the purchase a policy in hopes that they won’t need it for many years to come.

This embarrassment or discomfort about discussing such a serious subject has led to many people into believing that their spouse, parent, etc. didn’t have any life insurance coverage.

Read on to learn how to find out if someone had a life insurance policy when they died and then be sure to enter your zip code above to compare free life insurance quotes!

Where to Look for an Insurance Policy

The first place that you will want to look for an insurance policy is through the personal possessions of the deceased. With any luck, they will have a filing system in place that will allow you to quickly find everything that you need. If, for some reason you don’t find a policy, don’t give up, there are other things that you can do.

The next thing you want to do is visit a site called This site has a list of every policy ever applied for over the past 14 years. Now, if your loved one took out a policy prior to the past 14 years, then you are going to have to move on to the next step. If, however, they applied for a policy more recently, it will be listed here.

What’s the catch? Well, this national database isn’t free; however, it is well worth the $75 if you are pretty sure that an insurance policy exists. In addition, this database can’t tell you whether a policy was actually purchased, but if your loved one filled out five applications, you can find those and then contact the insurance companies directly.

If the deceased isn’t listed in the database, then it is time to get a little more creative. If he or she ever used a lawyer (or there is a family lawyer), an accountant, money manager, etc. then you can check with them to determine if they are holding on to an insurance policy. In addition, many times family members learn from the reading of the will that an insurance policy exists and what company it was purchased through.

If you purchase health insurance or auto insurance through a specific insurance company, it is very possible that your loved one purchased a life insurance policy through that company in an effort to get a discount on their policy. The insurance company won’t share the information with you, however, if you aren’t on the account and you can’t produce a death certificate.

Lastly, and this can only be done by the spouse, check with your bank and get a list of check payments for the past year. Most banks actually have this option online so you can print it directly to your printer. Find a monthly check to an insurance company and contact them to see if there is an insurance policy through that company.

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When All Else Fails in the Search for a Life Insurance Policy

If you try all of these steps and you still don’t get any results, then patience might be the key to your success in finding a life insurance policy. Life insurance policies, like most insurance policies are usually paid in monthly or twice yearly payments. When someone stops paying their premiums, the insurance company will send a notice that they are late on their payment.

Typically, an insurance company will, at minimum, send four letters; most will also try email and phone calls, especially if there is a long-standing policy. In addition, insurance companies will often check for the death of the policyholder and then try to inform the beneficiaries of the existence of the life insurance policy.

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When Years Pass Before a Policy is Found

It is not uncommon for years to pass before an insurance policy is found for a deceased person. Fortunately, there are no expiration dates on life insurance policies. As long as the premiums were paid up until the time of the person’s death then you can collect on the policy. What’s more, you will be able to collect on the policy plus interest.

An insurance company won’t hold on to the policy money forever, however. If they determine that a policyholder is deceased, they will make an effort to contact the beneficiary of the policy for payout. After a certain amount of years, usually between 3 to 5 years, the insurance company will forward the money to a state fund at the comptroller’s office. The money simply sits there waiting to be collected.

It is important to note that this step is only taken if the insurance company knows that the policyholder has died. While they will attempt to determine the disposition of the policyholder, they won’t spend a lot of time on it, they aren’t required by law to do so, and it is up the beneficiaries to inform the insurance company, not the other way around.

NOTE: The more time that passes between the death of a policyholder and the attempt to collect on the insurance policy, the longer it will take for the insurance company to pay. There will be more involved questioning about the death and some back and forth. This doesn’t mean they won’t pay; however, it is often thought of as suspicious when a claim isn’t made in a timely manner.

Term Life and Whole Life

Perhaps the most important thing a person can do for their family is to make sure that they are financially protected after their death. To do so requires the purchase of life insurance. There are two options for life insurance, term and whole life.

Term life insurance provides insurance for a specified period of time, for example 10 years, and is less expensive than whole life because the policy eventually ends. You can purchase higher policy limits on term life at lower costs as well. After a certain age, you cannot purchase term life insurance.

Whole life is, as the name suggests, a lifetime policy (for your whole life). It can cost two to three times more for whole life than term life, but you can buy it when you are 20 and maintain it until you are 100 years old, if you life that long. Typically, the premiums will increase every few years after you reach 55.

Buying the right insurance policy at the best price is important. Shopping around and comparing rates is the best way to ensure that you do both. With a free life insurance quote tool you can compare quotes on both term and whole life insurance and find out which one is right for you and your budget. Try it today!