How to find a deceased loved one’s life or funeral insurance

Losing a loved one can be an incredibly emotional experience. Along with the grief, there are also numerous practical matters that need to be handled, including arranging the funeral and dealing with your loved one’s estate. Life or funeral insurance could cover some of the expenses of a funeral, but if you are unsure whether they had a policy it can make the process difficult.

Here's what to do in such a situation:

Look through their paperwork

The first step when trying to identify whether your loved one had a life or funeral insurance policy is to look through their paperwork. This may include any bank or credit card statements you have access to, as well as other financial documents they may have kept. You might find correspondence from an insurer, such as a policy statement or premium invoice. If they provided you with access before their passing, searching their emails may also help you find relevant documentation that points you in the right direction.

“The most common and straightforward way of establishing if a loved one has a life insurance or funeral policy is often to look through their paperwork. Ideally, they would have informed their executor where their important documents are kept so they can be accessed without extensive searches,” says Delphine Copeland, Solicitor Director at Copeland Estates Legal.

As this can be a time-consuming process, consider enlisting the help of other family members or close friends to help you sort through the paperwork and ensure nothing is missed.

Contact your loved one's financial advisor or lawyer

If your loved one had a financial advisor, it's possible that they discussed their insurance plans with them, or even had the advisor set up the policy for them. If this is the case, the advisor may be able to provide you with information on any policies your loved one held, including the name of the insurer and policy number. Similarly, if they had a will, the law firm that holds it could share relevant information on any insurance policies they were aware of.

“If no paperwork is found at your loved one’s home, you may be able to find the policies by contacting local funeral directors, your loved one’s financial planner, the law firm who holds your loved one’s will in safe custody, and even their bank to enquire whether they have a safe custody packet that may contain this paperwork,” Copeland says.

It's important to note that banks, financial advisors and law firms are usually bound by confidentiality agreements, so they may not be able to provide you with this information without proper authorisation. However, if you have been named as the executor of your loved one's estate, you should be able to get access to this information.

Reach out to all possible insurers

If you are unable to extract any relevant information through these steps, your last chance may be to reach out to all possible insurers. The good news is that all of this contact information is provided by the Council of Australian Life Insurers' lost insurance policies page, which maintains a database of all life insurers operating in Australia.

When contacting any insurer, make sure you provide them with your loved one's:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Personal details (e.g. home address)
  • Policy number (if known)
  • Name of the insurance agent who sold them the policy, if possible

What to do when all other attempts fail

Copeland says that sometimes news of a life or funeral insurance policy doesn’t arrive until weeks or maybe even months later. So even if you feel like you have exhausted all possible avenues, sometimes it takes an administrative ‘nudge’ for the wheels to start turning.

“Often if there’s scant paperwork found in your loved one’s home then it can be the law firm looking after the estate or probate that makes the enquiries; they will send correspondence to local or likely organisations to enquire about policies. It’s not altogether unusual for a policy to only come to a family’s attention after an estate has been administered when a reminder letter, for instance, is sent to the loved one’s address and the policy can be recovered at that time.”

Much-needed support

Trying to find out whether your loved one had a life or funeral insurance policy can be a difficult and time-consuming process. However, it's important to take the necessary steps so that their benefits can be claimed. While this may be mentally and emotionally taxing, it's well worth the effort given it could provide much-needed financial support during a difficult time.

To organise your own funeral or life insurance policy, start comparing a range of life insurance quotes or a range of funeral insurance quotes with Choosi today.