Other Life Topics

Fact sheet: Unclaimed life insurance policies

Clear communication is important when it comes to your life insurance policy. Life insurance policyholders should inform their primary beneficiaries, as well as their contingent beneficiaries, about the existence of a life insurance policy that names them. If there are valid reasons not to inform the beneficiaries—if, for example, they are young children—it is a good idea to provide this information to the executor of your estate.

Finding a lost life insurance policy


Trying to locate a missing life insurance policy? Valuable tips on how to track down this important document.

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Where can I get additional information on life insurance?

For more detail on life insurance, you can contact:  

  • American Council of Life Insurers
    1001 Pennsylvania Avenue
    N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004-2599
  • Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education

12 steps for locating a lost life insurance policy

Locating life insurance documents for a deceased relative can be a daunting task—for one thing, as of this moment there are no national databases of all life insurance policies. However, with a little sleuthing, you can successfully navigate the paper trail.

Here are some strategies to help simplify your search.

If I can't pay my premium, what should I do?

If unexpected expenses come up and you can’t pay your life insurance premium, you should know the possible consequences. The effect depends on the type of policy and coverage you have and the policy terms and conditions.

Term: If you stop paying premiums, your coverage lapses.

Permanent: If you have this type of policy, you will have the following choices:

What is burial insurance?

“Burial insurance” usually refers to a whole life insurance policy with a death benefit of from $5,000 to $25,000. As its nickname implies, people buy this type of policy to provide money for funeral and burial costs for themselves and/or family members. It is possible to buy a policy after answering a few health-related questions on the application and with no medical exam.