Consumer Reports estimates that at least $1 billion in benefits from forgotten life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed. Often, when I meet with adult children administering a trust after the death of a parent, they’re not certain about whether not that parent had life insurance policies. And many veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War left behind policies that they purchased while on active duty through the Veterans Administration.
I realize that I’m stating the obvious here, but you can’t make a claim on policies that you don’t know exist. And generally speaking, life insurance companies aren’t going to go out of their way to notify potential claimants of policies waiting to be claimed, although several of the largest ones have agreed to search for deceased policy holders more diligently: AIG, Forethought, John Hancock, MetLife, Nationwide, and Prudential.
Unfortunately, only 10 states have centralized databases of insurance policies issued in their state, and California isn’t one of them. (They are Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont).