Life insurance gives us a little peace of mind, offering a sense of financial security for our loved ones.
But the life benefits aren't beneficial if they go unclaimed by those who are left behind.
At least $1 billion in benefits from misplaced or forgotten life-insurance policies are waiting to be claimed by their owners, according to a story in the February issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
The average unclaimed life benefit is $2,000, with some payouts as high as $300,000, according to the story.
It's not enough just to purchase a policy. You have to take steps to protect your intentions. It's important to keep a clear, concise list of your life insurance policies and other financial documents, says Dave Keil, an insurance agent at Dupaco Insurance Services in Dyersville, Iowa.
"And that needs to be put in a safe place where your kids or beneficiaries know about it," Keil says.
Consider storing your list of policies, along with your will and other important documents, in a lock box at your financial institution.
It's an emotional time when a loved one dies. If the survivors know ahead of time how to access important documents like these, it is one less burden during the difficult time.
The odds that a survivor is the beneficiary of an unclaimed life benefit are 1 in 600, according to Consumer Reports. Here are some tips on how you can search for lost life-insurance policies.
By Emily Kittle