My father died. How can I find his life insurance policy?


Q. My father had a term insurance and when it came to the end of 20 years, he told me he converted it to a permanent policy. But when he died, I couldn’t find a permanent policy. How can I find out if he ever did it?
— Heir

A. We’re sorry to hear about your dad.

Your dilemma isn’t uncommon, and it will require a bit of detective work.

If you cannot find a policy or any paperwork, start with the name of the insurance company at risk for your dad’s term policy, if you have it, said Ed Gaelick, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant with PSI Consultants in Glen Rock.

You can ask the company to take a look, but having a policy number will save a lot of time because it will lead the insurance company representative to find any “converted policy,” he said.

“The most difficult part of this will be getting someone to actually speak with you as HIPAA and privacy is taken very seriously,” he said. “You may need to show some authority to speak on your father’s or his estate’s behalf such as a surrogate letter or last will and testament showing you as executor.”

If you’re not sure what company the policy was with, start to review his finances to see if you can at least find the name of the insurance company by looking for canceled checks or other payments. Also try whatever company he used for auto or homeowners insurance as he may have used the same insurer. Also check with her bank.

You can also try the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which was created to assist state insurance regulators in setting standards and regulations for best practices for the insurance industry. It has a free Life Policy Locator Tool, which may help you find out if there was a policy.

And finally, National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) helps locate unclaimed property in every state. If there was a policy and it was never claimed, you may be able to track it down there.

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This story was originally published on Dec. 6, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.