Q&A: How do I search for lost life insurance policies?

Q:Before my sister passed away last November, she told me that her life insurance would pay off her mortgage. My other sister and I are her executors, and we can't find any information on a life policy. Is there a way to search for it? —D.T., Belleville, Ill.

A: Since you don't know where the policy was issued, first try the free lost-policy finder program offered by the New York State Department of Financial Servicesat dfs.ny.gov/consumer/lost_policy_find.htm.

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Anyone who is an executor or administrator of an estate or an immediate family member can file a search request. Insurance companies that are incorporated or organized in the state will search their electronic records for policies the deceased may have owned or been insured by, regardless of the state in which they were issued.

If that search turns up nothing, consider trying MIB's Policy Locator Service, at mib.com/lost_life_insurance.html. For a $75 fee, the company will search more than 190 million records related to applications processed since 1996 (which is as far back as the database goes) for virtually every U.S. and Canadian life insurer.

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