How to find out if someone had a life insurance policy

You may have recently lost a loved one and are now dealing with the unexpected costs of a death in your immediate family. You and your family could be facing costly funeral expenses alongside the responsibility of settling your loved one’s outstanding debts.

If you’re unsure if your loved one had savings or insurance, how will you deal with the new costs of living without your loved one?

There’s a chance your loved one may have had a life insurance policy, but how do you know if it’s not laid out in a will? There are a few ways you can determine if your loved one had a life insurance policy. We’ll review how you can find your deceased loved one’s policy in this article and provide you with crucial information about a helpful organization to aid you in your search.


  • You can take steps yourself to confirm whether a loved one had life insurance policy; checking mail, files, storage, their workplace, etc
  • If all else fails, and organization like the OLHI can help find your loved one’s policy details on your behalf as long as you have reasonable proof you already exhausted your search options
  • If you have life insurance coverage, it’s vital to inform your beneficiaries so they can access the funds as quickly as you intended
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Look for your loved one’s life insurance policy yourself

Review your loved one’s bank information and financial records. Look through them to see if your loved one sent monthly or automatic payments to a life insurance company. You can also check with credit card companies to see if your loved one made a payment arrangement with a life insurance company. These are signs they may have been paying a life insurance policy premium, and the name of the carrier will give a you head start on where to inquire for the life insurance claim.

Check the mail

Check their mail and keep a lookout for new pieces of mail after your loved one’s passing. They may posthumously receive their notices for premiums, dividends notices, policy services, or monthly statements from a life insurance provider.

Check files and storage

You should also check your deceased loved one’s storage locations. Scour your loved one’s known storage spaces for any proof they could have of their life insurance policy, like a printed version of the policy or receipts for payments. Storage areas include filing cabinets, desk drawers, a safe, or a safety deposit box. It would be best if you did whatever you can to check inside those storage areas as well.

Suppose you cannot get inside the safety deposit box yourself. In that case, it is as simple as taking the death certificate and an executor’s testament to the bank where the safety deposit is. Spouses of the deceased usually will only require a death certificate and their marriage certificate to access a safety deposit box.

Make sure to check your loved one’s address book. Either in paper form or stored on a mobile device, address books and phone contacts may hold hints of your loved one’s term life insurance policy, such as the phone number or email address for a life insurance agent or company.

Lastly, examine your loved one’s tax returns, and make sure to even look over your loved one’s income tax returns from prior years. You’re looking to see if they have made any claims for interest collected on their life insurance policies.

Check with attorneys, accountants

You can also reach out to the deceased’s financial and legal professionals to find information about their potential life insurance policy. If your loved one had a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor, reach out and ask them if they know if your deceased loved one had purchased any life insurance policies.

Check with their employer

You should also check with your loved one’s place of employment. They may have had group life coverage or  other policies purchased through work.

Finding a life insurance policy through the OLHI

If you cannot find information about your loved one’s possible life insurance policy through these methods, don’t stop there. Your last resort should be to contact the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI). The OLHI is one of the most helpful resources in Canada to help you search for the lost life insurance policy of a deceased relative.

The OLHI is Canada’s self-governing insurance complaint resolution service. The OLHI is committed to evaluating various insurance products, including life, disability, extended health care & dental insurance, travel insurance, and insurance investment product complaints.

OLHI was founded in 2002. It operates under the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) to offer a free and unbiased dispute resolution service between consumers and insurance companies.

Both life and health insurance companies are mandated by law to maintain an impartial dispute resolution service. While 99% of Canadian insurance companies are OLHI members, most of OLHI’s Board are Directors that do not work in the life and health insurance industry. OLHI offers its free and impartial dispute resolution services in English and French to any Canadian consumer whose insurance company is an OLHI member.

How to find a life insurance policy with the OLHI

Before the OLHI can search for a policy, you have to search for the policy yourself first. This alone is why they are your last-resort option. If you can’t find your loved one’s policy, you must have some indication or proof that a policy exists. It must also be less than two years and more than three months since your loved one’s death. OLHI must also find that it is reasonable for them to perform this search.

To find a life insurance policy, the OLHI sends a search request to OLHI-member insurance companies. While 99% of all life and health insurance companies are members, the OLHI cannot retrieve any policy with a non-member in their search. They will also not find a policy purchased outside of Canada because their member companies are strictly Canadian.

If a policy is found, your loved one’s insurance company will contact you, but only then. Companies can only provide insurance information to the executor, lawyer, beneficiary, or heir of a deceased person. The OLHI may not find group policies in a search and encourage everyone to contact their loved one’s former employers and associations instead.

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Informing your loved ones you have a life insurance policy

Life insurance protection is one of the most considerate financial products you can buy. But how helpful can your life insurance policy be if your loved ones or beneficiaries don’t even know it exists?

If you have taken out a life insurance policy on yourself, make sure to tell your loved ones about your policy. Give them detailed information about where they can find what they’ll need in case you pass prematurely. Please don’t force them to go through all these steps to track it down after you’re gone.

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal or financial advice.

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