Life Insurance Overview
Who Needs Life Insurance?
Life insurance helps protect families by replacing lost income if a wage earner dies. Some policies also accumulate cash and provide payments during the policyholders lifetime. When purchasing life insurance, consider your individual circumstances and the standard of living you want for your dependents.
Understanding Life Insurance
Tracing Old Life Policies
Tracing Missing or Old Life Insurance Policies - TDI has no way of knowing whether any person has life insurance and with which company. We can, however, offer some tips for continuing your search.
- Examine your relative's bank statements and check registers for payments to life insurance companies. Life insurers commonly require payment of premiums by bank drafts. These payments appear on monthly bank statements.
- Look for insurance agents in your relative's address book or personal phone directory. The agent who wrote your relative's car, home or health insurance also may have sold him or her a life insurance policy.
- Contact the employee benefits offices at your relative's former employers. Sometimes people buy group life insurance at work.
- Review your relative's income tax records to see if he or she reported interest income on a cash value life insurance policy.
If a life insurance company knows that an insured has died but it cannot find the policy beneficiaries within three years, it must send the death benefit to the state Comptroller’s unclaimed property fund. The rightful owners of the life insurance proceeds can reclaim them from the Comptroller. For more information, go to the Comptroller’s unclaimed property Web site, www.cpa.state.tx.us/up/.
Just be aware that for a life insurance policy to be valid, your relative had to keep it in force by paying the premiums. Some cash value policies become "paid up" after a person pays premiums for a specific number of years. However, people often cancel policies or let them lapse but keep the discontinued policies in their records.
If you find a life insurance policy in the effects of a deceased relative but can't locate the company, you can get help from TDI by calling 1-800-252-3439. Or you can access "Company Profiles" through TDI's Web site, www.tdi.state.tx.us. Profiles of active companies include addresses and phone numbers. Profiles of inactive companies include histories that let you trace mergers, acquisitions and reinsurance agreements that transferred their policies to other companies.
- Top 40 Life Insurance Companies - Based on Texas Written Premium with Percentage of Market Share
- Top 40 Annuity Insurance Companies - Based on Texas Written Premium with Percentage of Market Share
- Life Insurance Online Complaint Form - Use for reporting complaints against life insurance companies or agents..
- Consumer Complaint Information/Data - Search TDI´s Internet Complaint Information System (ICIS) by (1) Summary Complaint Information by Quarter (2) Region Complaint Information by Quarter or (3) Line of Insurance.
Related Web Links
- Consumer Federation of America - For a fee, CFA will analyze the return rate on a cash value life policy.
For more information contact:
Last updated: 10/17/2011