How to find out if someone has a life insurance policy in place?
Having a life insurance policy in place is a great way of protecting your dependents in the event of your death. It’s also very helpful if you tell them that you have one!
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), over 97% of life insurance claims are paid out. However, there are also many valid insurance policies that don’t get paid, simply because a claim hasn’t been made.
It’s not the responsibility of the insurer to keep a check on the people that they insure. Due to the nature of the policy, you won’t be around to make the claim yourself so it’s vital that you inform your beneficiaries that you have something in place.
How to find out if someone has life insurance?
If you are responsible for administering someone’s estate after their death, then you may want to find out whether or not they had a valid life insurance policy in place. It may be mentioned in the person’s will but if not, there are a couple of things you can do to find out.
Check bank accounts
As an executor of the estate, you should have access to the deceased’s bank accounts. This is generally the easiest way to find out the name of the insurance company, if a policy is in place, as it should be on the list of regular direct debits.
However some life insurance policies, such as whole-of-life or over 50s policies, remain in place once payments have been made so won’t show up on current bank statements. However, you may be able to find this information if you can access older statements.
Once you have the name of the insurer, you can contact them with the name and address of the deceased – they may ask you some additional questions to help identify the policyholder but should be happy to help you.
Contacting the Unclaimed Assets Register
Unclaimed Life Insurance policies, along with other policies, can be found through the Unclaimed Assets Register (UAR).
To use the service, you’ll need to create an account, and you will be charged a fee for each search that you make (currently £25). Unfortunately there isn’t currently a way round the fee, and it won’t be reimbursed if the search is unsuccessful. However, if you can afford the initial fee, it is worth taking the chance. After all, there could be a large life insurance policy waiting to be claimed.
Can anyone find an unclaimed life insurance policy?
Anyone can make an enquiry through the UAR. However, only the person legally responsible for administering the estate can take the claim further. You will need to provide a copy of the death certificate in order to make a claim on a life insurance policy.
A payout will go to any beneficiaries named on the policy. If not, the money goes to the overall estate. From there, it is administered according to the will.
Is there a time limit for claiming life insurance?
If you know about a life insurance policy in place, claims are typically made within a few weeks of the death. Life insurance payouts can help to cover funeral costs, or can help to settle any outstanding debts belonging to the deceased.
Technically, there is no set time frame for making a claim, so if you do discover a valid policy some time after the person’s death, you should still get in touch with the insurer.
What information will you need to make an insurance claim?
If you are making a claim following someone’s death, you will need the following information:
- The full name of the deceased
- A copy of the death certificate
- The policy number, if you have access to it
You may be asked what your relationship is to the deceased, or whether you are an executor of the will. Some insurers will have an online claim process, so you don’t have to face any upsetting questions over the phone. However, remember that life insurance teams deal with the bereaved all the time and will be professional and sympathetic.
To avoid any potential difficulties after your death, it’s important that you leave clear instructions regarding any life insurance policies you have in place, either in your will or by advising your beneficiaries. If the details of the policy are not something you are comfortable discussing in person, you may want to let someone know where to find the information in the event of your death. A bereavement can be an upsetting and stressful time, so this will make things a little easier for those left behind.
If you are considering taking out a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones in the future, please get in touch with one of our insurance specialists, who’ll be able to provide friendly advice about the most suitable insurance for you.