It might surprise you to learn that insurance benefits sometimes go unclaimed. This is a pity, because these benefits can really make a difference in the lives of survivors. To ensure your beneficiaries receive the benefits to which they are entitled, it’s good to be aware of the reasons why this could happen.

Time and Distance

An insurer’s main way of contacting you is your street address. If you took out a policy years ago, you may have moved multiple times since then. The Post Office only offers forwarding address service for a year.

Tip #1: Inform your life insurers immediately when you move.

Lack of Communication

Insurance companies usually learn of a policyholder’s death from the beneficiary, or from an employer in the case of a group life insurance policy. The mere fact that payments on a policy stop is not enough for an insurance company to know that you or a loved one has passed. They may assume you no longer wish to keep the policy in force or, the policy may be paid up and not require additional premium payments.

Tip #2: Give your beneficiaries the name and phone number of your life insurance company, so they can file a claim.

Missing Beneficiaries

Sometimes, policies have insufficient detail on them for an insurer to find the beneficiary (for example, if a policyholder simply wrote “my son” as a beneficiary, rather than a name and Social Security Number). Even with that information, it can be difficult to find a beneficiary if he or she has moved.

Tip #3: Provide detailed information on your beneficiaries and review your policies regularly to update any address information for those beneficiaries who don’t live with you.

Unaware Beneficiaries

Sometimes a person does not even know that he or she is the named beneficiary on a policy. This is often the case when beneficiaries are named when they are young children.

Tip #4: Provide beneficiaries (or their parents or guardians) with your policy number and life insurance company information.

Rest assured that Navy Mutual does everything in our power to locate beneficiaries when we become aware of the death of a policyholder, but, by following the tips above, you can ensure that a claim is filed quickly, and your beneficiaries are provided for.