NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Talking about what will happen when you die with your loved ones is not a conversation a lot of people like to have.
But if you don't talk about it, your family may not have the information they need to collect your death benefits, like insurance. But, there's a free search tool that can help.
Unfortunately, It's not going to help you have that conversation which is an important one. But if someone close to you dies and you have no idea whether they had any life insurance policies, this can help you find them if you are a beneficiary.
Saying goodbye is never easy and neither is finding lost life insurance policies left by loved ones.
Until now that is, thanks to a free online search tool called the Life Insurance Policy Locator Service offered through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
"There's potentially millions of dollars in life insurance benefits and annuities that consumers don’t know about," Kevin Walters with the state Commerce and Insurance Department said.
The service can find insurance policies as well as annuities that were taken out by loved ones that perhaps they never told you about or maybe forgot about. And all you have to do is fill out a search request online and the service does the rest, contacting insurance companies across the country on your behalf.
It will search for policies on people who have died recently as well as many years ago, looking for current policies as well as old ones. This year alone more than 900 people have requested a search.
"So far this year, as of the end of last month, $7.4 million in life insurance benefits and annuities have been located for Tennesseans," Walters said.
He added that last year, the search service found more than $20 million for Tennesseans, benefits that might otherwise have never been paid out.
"This is money that is falling through the cracks. And it is money that the consumers are not receiving and it is not being used for what it was intended for," Walters explained.
Some things to keep in mind: it can take up to three months to get a response after you fill out a request. And, you will not be contacted, if you are not listed as a beneficiary.
If you are a beneficiary to a policy, this search tool finds the money, but it does not claim it for you. You will be contacted by the insurance company and will have to fill out a claim form and provide them with a copy of the death certificate.
But again, you can make things a whole lot easier on your loved ones, if you tell them now what policies you have and where they can find all of the account information when you pass.