We often receive calls from distraught spouses attempting to find out information about their recently deceased spouse’s life insurance policy. Quite often, in searching for information, they find us on the Internet and call us, hoping that we are the insurance company they are looking for (we’re usually not, as we are an insurance brokerage).
When it’s time to collect the proceeds from a life insurance policy, most people are not in a state of mind conducive to this kind of exploration. Being prepared before the event can save your family from compounding their grief with aggravation and frustration. Here is some great advice on how to organize your life insurance information to prevent this from occurring (from the Insurance Information Institute’s website – www.iii.org):
For each individual insurance policy on your life, you should record the following information:
- The full name of the life insurance company that issued the policy.
- The city and state of the home office of the company that issued the policy.
- The name and U.S. headquarters of the group, if the issuing company belongs to a group of companies.
- The policy number
- The date the policy was issued
- The amount of the death benefit
- The name and address of the agent/broker who sold you the policy
- The type of policy (e.g., term, whole life, etc.)
- The location of the original life insurance policy
You might have life insurance automatically from your employer. Your employer also might offer you the chance to buy additional life insurance under a group policy. And you might be eligible to buy life insurance under a group policy from your union or trade association or other group you belong to (such as a college alumni association or an automobile club). For each of these life insurance benefits, you should record the following information:
- The name of the employer or group that sponsors the insurance.
- The office or person to contact when it’s time to file a claim.
- The certificate number (comparable to the policy number under an individual policy).
- The date the insurance was started.
- The amount of the death benefit.
You’ve protected your family financially by purchasing life insurance. You can also protect them from the pain and suffering from having to try to find out the answers to these questions in the event of your death.