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If you suspect a life insurance policy exists but cannot locate it, you should conduct your own search for a policy using the following steps:
- Review the deceased's personal papers to learn if there is a life insurance policy on file at the deceased's last place of residence. In addition, check with the deceased's bank to determine if he/she maintained a lock box. Many individuals will place a copy of their life insurance policy in a lock box.
- Review the deceased's personal papers for all other types of insurance policies. If you locate an automobile policy or homeowners policy, contact the company which issued those policies to determine if a life insurance policy also was issued to the deceased.
- Review the deceased's address and telephone book to determine if there is any name or names of insurance agents or insurance companies.
- Contact the deceased's last place of employment to determine if there was a group life insurance policy issued through the deceased's employer.
- Contact every insurance company with which the deceased had a policy of insurance at any time, even if you're not sure the policy is still in force.
- Review canceled checks credit card receipts and other records for the last several years to determine if any checks have been written to pay life insurance premiums. In addition, you should contact any insurance company that received a check payment to clarify whether a check was written to pay life insurance premiums.
- Review the deceased's income tax returns for the past two years to determine if there is any interest income or interest expense from an insurance company is indicated. Life insurance companies pay interest on accumulations on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans.
- Always contact the state's unclaimed property office to see if any unclaimed money from life insurance policies may have been turned over to the state. If, after a number of years, an insurance company holding the unclaimed proceeds cannot find the rightful owner, it turns the money over to the state. You should periodically conduct this check for an extended number of years.
- Check with all family members and close friends and ask if the deceased ever mentioned an insurance company.
- Check with unions and associations to which the deceased belonged to learn if insurance was purchased through them.
- If the deceased lived in a small community, check with the local insurance agent(s).
- If after taking the above steps and you are still unable to locate the missing life policy, consider utilizing the Department’s missing life policy search service, available in the Consumer Affairs section at www.insurance.ohio.gov.
Ohioans with questions about life insurance can call the Department's toll-free consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526. A life insurance informational toolkit is also available on the Department's website at www.insurance.ohio.gov. The toolkit provides tip sheets, publications and links to other helpful websites.