Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, which can become even more overwhelming if you’re unsure about their financial situation. If you suspect that your loved one had life insurance, but are not sure how to check, there are some steps you can take.

Searching for a lost life insurance policy can be a frustrating process, though certainly worth the effort. We'll talk you through some of the ways you can track down a policy.


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What do we mean by lost life insurance?

Lost life insurance refers to a policy that is yet to be claimed by the deceased or forgotten about by their loved ones. This can happen if the policyholder did not inform their family/loved ones about the policy, or if they themselves forgot to keep track of it.

What happens if a life insurance policy is left unclaimed?

When someone purchases a life insurance policy, they do so intending to provide financial security for their loved ones in the event of their death.

However, if the policy goes unclaimed, either because the beneficiaries are unaware of its existence or simply fail to file a claim, the policy does not simply disappear.

In England and Wales, unclaimed life insurance policies become what is known as "Bona Vacantia", meaning vacant goods, which by law passes to the Crown. This means that the estate of the deceased is held by the government until it can be claimed.

How to search for a lost life insurance policy

If you've recently lost a friend or relative and suspect they had a life insurance policy, there are a few ways to search for it:

Look for physical documents

Start by going through your loved one's personal files, including their safe, filing cabinet, or any other place where important documents may be stored. Basically, any paperwork or documents that may provide clues about an existing life insurance policy.

This can include bank statements, wills, or any other legal documents that might mention an insurance policy.

If you are the next of kin, you can request the release of data from the deceased's email account. Each email provider will have their own process for verification. If successful, you can then check for any emails regarding a life insurance policy.

Contact their employer

If they had a job, reach out to their employer to enquire about any group life insurance policies they may have had. Many employers offer this benefit as part of their employee benefits package, so it's worth checking with them to see if they have cover.

Check with insurance companies

If you know the name of the insurer, you can contact them directly. Provide them with as much information as possible, such as the person's full name, date of birth, and policy number if possible. They may ask for additional documentation or proof of death.

Is there anything else we can help with?

What information do I need to make a claim?

When contacting an insurer - whether online or over the phone - you'll need to provide some details on the policyholder, such as:

  • Full name of the policyholder

  • Their date of birth

  • Their home address

  • The policy number, if available

Following on from this, they'll also ask you to provide some details about yourself and your relationship to the deceased. They may also need some contact details such as your address, phone number, etc.

They may also ask for additional information, such as:

  • Cause of death

  • Date of death

  • If they left a will

  • If they have family members, such as a spouse or children

​To file a claim with an insurer, you will typically need to provide them with the original death certificate. You can obtain copies of the death certificate from the General Register Office for a fee, which can be done through Gov.uk.

They may also request medical information from the deceased individual's GP or specialist, as well as other legal documents.

What if the insurer no longer exists?

Depending on when the policy was taken out, there's a chance the insurer may cease to exist or has been bought by another company.

In this case, you can try to find out which company currently holds the policy by contacting regulatory bodies, such as the Association of British Insurers (ABI). They may be able to provide information on which company acquired the original insurer.

You can also go through the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They maintain a register of all authorised insurance companies in the UK, so you can check if the insurer is still active.

If the insurer no longer exists and cannot be traced, you may still be able to make a claim through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS provides protection to policyholders in case their insurer becomes insolvent.

How can we help?

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure about the process of finding and claiming a life insurance policy for your loved one, Cavendish Online can help. Our experienced advisers can provide guidance to any questions you may have.

You can call us on 01392 436193 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5.30pm)

If you're thinking of buying a policy yourself, you can get a free online quote in a matter of minutes. Just enter some personal details to get started.

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