How do I get the benefits from a life insurance policy if i don't have the policy in my posses ion?

My first wife passed away and left a life insureance policy to me in the year 2000.I do not have the policy number. And have no ideal how to resolve this matter.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Unfortunately there is no easy solution to your case. The only central database that would enable you to find out who she applied for coverage with--MIB (Medical Information Bureau) keeps track of all applications for life insurance policies including name of company and amount applied for. However, MIB records only go back 13 years and must be accessed by an Executor, Administrator or other eligible relative. You can contact MIB at

    As far as I know if you are the Executor of the Estate you can access bank records to see who she paid for life insurance if MIB doesn't have the record. The other alternative is that she might have had a safety deposit box at the bank that you might not be aware of. If you are the Executor you should be able to 1) find out if she had a box and 2) if she did the bank will let you open it. 

I can also suggest that you check with the HR Department at her job since she might have made you a beneficiary on her life policy at work. If not also check with her auto and homeowners agent--he or she might be the same person who wrote the life insurance or might have referred her to the person. Also if she had an accountant or the family attorney try checking with them since she might have given them the information while writing her will or checking tax implications of the life policy. Also the attorney might be able to come up with another way to check assets. Did your ex-wife fill out a Net Worth Statement for anything recently--the information would be listed there.

If there are no other options, you are left with calling companies individually. However, be forewarned the last information I had was that there are over 1800 life insurance companies in the U.S. alone and over a 15 year period many of them might have changed names as a result of mergers, etc. If you have to go this route, first go to the insurance commissioner for your state and have them give you a list of the companies licensed in your state, i.e. not all companies are licensed in every state then with the list first think of the top names of insurance companies on the list--the companies that have the most name recognition and start by calling them, i.e. New York Life, Metropolitan Life, Mutual of Omaha, Sun Life, TransAmerica Life, AIG, Prudential, Northwestern Mutual, Pacific Life, etc. 

In short this is a daunting task, my bet is that she had a safety deposit box or was covered at work. 

    I am very sorry for your loss. Good luck!

    Source(s): Certified Insurance Counselor, Licensed Insurance Agent & Broker for over 29 years.
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  • You can ask for a duplicate policy or just call customer service of the insurance company. If you don't have the phone number, just go online and search for the insurance company's web site to get a toll free number. You don't need the actual document to receive your benefits.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The key is to find out what company she had the insurance with. At that point you can just call them up, say you think you are a beneficiary on your ex-wife's insurance, and they can look her up by her name and birthday usually.

    So call local agents or companies that you think may have sold her the policy or search through old bank and credit card records to see if you can find out what company she had the insurance with. If she applied for it in the last 13 years you can use the MIB policy locater service that another answerer mentioned.

    Source(s): My blog article on this subject:
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