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Lost Policy Finder

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) offers a free-of-charge service to assist families in locating unclaimed benefits on life insurance policies/certificates and annuity contracts/certificates insuring the life of, or owned by, a deceased immediate family member. The service is not available to individuals, companies, organizations or services that charge consumers a fee for making the request or for locating lost life insurance policies or annuity contracts.

How can I submit a request?

It is important first to read the full information below and use the provided tools to conduct your own search. You can then submit a request online using our Lost Policy Finder application.

Lost Policy Finder application

(application opens in a new window)

Who may file a search request?

A search request may be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate or by a member of the deceased’s immediate family, which includes the deceased’s spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, sibling, or closest living relative.

What do I need to submit a request?

You will need some basic information about the deceased, including date of birth, date of death and last known address.  You will also need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate.

How can I get a copy of the certified death certificate if I don’t have one?

For information about acquiring a death certificate for deaths that occurred within the State of New York, visit the New York State Health Department.

If the death occurred outside of New York State, visit the website or contact the vital statistic office in the state or area where the death occurred.

When requesting a death certificate, have the following information available: full name of deceased, sex of that person, date of death, place of death (city or town, county, state), relationship to requestor, the purpose for which the record is needed, requestor’s name and address,  requestor’s driver’s license number and the requestor’s signature.

What happens to my request?

DFS will forward your search request to all New York licensed life insurance companies and fraternal benefit societies (“insurers”). New York licensed insurers that are incorporated or organized in the state of New York will perform searches of their electronic records to identify a policy, contract or certificate on which the deceased was the insured or owner, regardless of the state in which the policy, contract or certificate was issued.  New York licensed insurers that are incorporated or organized in a state other than New York will only perform searches of their electronic records of policies, contracts and certificates delivered or issued for delivery in the state of New York.

How will I know if an insurer identified a life insurance policy/certificate or annuity contract/certificate on the deceased?

If an insurer identifies the existence of a life insurance policy/certificate or annuity contract/certificate on which the deceased was the insured, annuitant or owner and you are a beneficiary under the identified policy, contract or certificate, the insurer will directly contact you within 45 business days of receipt of the request from DFS.

What happens if an insurer identifies a life insurance policy/certificate or annuity contract/ certificate on the deceased but I am not the beneficiary?

Federal and state privacy laws limit the persons to whom an insurer may provide information relating to a life insurance policy/certificate or annuity contract/certificate.  If the insurer is unable to provide you with information due to applicable privacy laws, the insurer will notify you that such is the case.

If the requestor is not the designated beneficiary of the life insurance policy/certificate or the annuity contract/certificate, or an appropriately authorized representative of the beneficiary of the identified policy, contract or certificate, the insurer will attempt to locate and contact the beneficiary listed in the insurer’s records. Policy or contract proceeds, if any, are payable to the beneficiary of record.

If I am the beneficiary on an identified policy, contract or certificate, what will I need to provide an insurer in order to receive payment?

Insurers may require you to provide additional information or to complete additional paperwork in order to process any benefits.

Will the Department of Financial Services contact me?

At the conclusion of the search process by all insurers, DFS will notify you whether a policy, contract or certificate has been identified by any insurer.  However, such notification can only be provided to you if a valid email address was provided on the search request form.

What steps should I take to locate a policy, contract or certificate on my deceased family member before submitting a search request?

If you suspect that a deceased member of your immediate family was insured under, or owned, a life insurance policy/certificate or was the annuitant or owner of an annuity contract/certificate, but cannot locate the policy, contract or certificate, you may be able to locate such or identify the issuing insurer by performing the following steps:

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Updated 05/02/2014