Life insurance pays out a lump sum on death of the policyholder to whichever beneficiaries are named on the policy. Many people purchase life insurance so that in the event of their passing, the lives of their loved ones and dependents might be a little easier. People might depend on a particular individual for financial support, whose death could bring, in addition to the grief and emotional stress of that time, financial pressures as well. This is why should you feel like a possible recipient of such financial relief, but don’t know if a life insurance policy from that person exists, this guide will help you identify the best ways to find out if someone in the UK has life insurance.
Depending on your relationship to a particular person, the best place to start your search will be their bank accounts and monthly statements. Access to their financial records will only be available to those closely related to the potential-policyholder, like a partner for example, but should they be accessible will be a good way to track a missing life policy down. What one is looking for is evidence of recurring payments made out to insurance providers or other financial services. These will typically have taken place over a long period of time, rather than one-offs. Life insurance premiums are commonly paid on a monthly basis but sometimes annual payments are an option too. Once you spot a recurrent direct debit, it will state which company the payment is going to – you can then get in touch with that company, explain your circumstances and they should be able to assist further.
Unlike other countries, the UK insurance industry does not hold a central database that lists all unclaimed life insurance policies. However, Experian, the consumer credit rating company, has established the Unclaimed Assets Register or UAR. This looks to unite lost or unclaimed assets to their rightful owners, and is not limited only to Life Insurance policies. Having set up a profile on the UAR, one is able to search the entire database, at the cost of £25 per search. That same search can be run over and over, for no additional cost, and the database is updated frequently.
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Many employers offer life policies as part of their workplace benefits. A lot of times this is an automatic benefit, or something that employees sign up to at the very beginning of their employment and subsequently forget about. This happens frequently with long term employees since they only need to sign once, and then it is in the hands of their employer to pay any associated premiums or deal with the policy itself. If you believe this might be the case, it is a good idea to reach out to that person’s previous employers to see if an active life insurance policy is still in force. Depending on the nature of their passing, there might even be additional benefits that one can claim.
If you are more convinced than not that a life insurance policy was taken out with a particular insurer, but have no evidence of documentation it might be a good idea to get in contact with that company and explain the situation around the phone call. Furthermore, whilst there are many providers of life insurance in the UK, some people may be particularly loyal to a specific financial services provider – if you happen to have an idea of which company (or perhaps companies) a person is more committed to, it makes sense to call their customer hotline and create an enquiry. This happens more often than you think, and especially with life insurance.
It could be that a certain amount of time has passed since you discovered a loved one has died, with some of their affairs still to be settled. In this case it is recommended you get in touch with that person’s solicitor. Usually there will be some form of record denoting which law firm might be making representation, and upon getting in touch with them, should reveal what assets the deceased’s estate has still to distribute, including life insurance which is commonly listed in a person’s last will and testament.
Insurance Mutuals, that is to say, insurance companies owned by their policyholders, used to be a very popular avenue from which to purchase life insurance policies. Low premiums and high lump sums meant they were very attractive to people looking to obtain life insurance in the 60’s and 70’s. Many of these mutuals however ended up being bought out or assimilated by other insurance companies that we are more familiar with today. So, if you have identified a document that looks like a certificate of life insurance, but the company on the document is unfamiliar or doesn’t seem to exist anymore, the Association of Financial Mutuals keeps a record of all mutuals and how they have changed throughout the decades. When a mutual gets merged or acquired by another company, its policies transfer over. Once you can identify the new home of the life insurance policy, get in touch with them via the relevant helpline.
Specialist asset search companies exist to track down any number of assets that one might think are out in the world, missing and unclaimed from where they should be. The idea is that one gets in touch with them perhaps having a hint of how much money or value is possibly at stake. These search services will then either charge a flat fee or a commission based on the value of the asset but only payable once recovered and returned to its rightful owner. Whilst the other options on this list are likely to be a lot more cost-friendly, these asset-recovery specialists can take a more direct approach and establish a lot quicker whether someone has a life insurance policy out there or not.