How do I check on the worth of an old life insurance policy?


You may think that old life insurance policies are only worth the paper they're printed on. However, if you take the time to check, you may be delighted to discover that some of these old life insurance policies still are worth something.

To check on the worth of old life insurance policies:

  1. Get a copy of the life insurance policy or determine the policy number.
  2. Check the kind of insurance the policy represents.
    • Term Insurance. If the life insurance policy is a term insurance policy and the insured person dies after the coverage period, you, as the beneficiary, will not get anything.
    • Permanent life insurance. You will receive the life insurance proceeds for as long as the policy was in force at the time of the death of the insured person. If the premiums have not been paid at some time and the life insurance company has lapsed, the insurance company can use the cash value to buy term life insurance for the same coverage level until the cash value runs out. In other cases, the life insurance may be kept effective permanently, but at a lower policy amount.
  3. It will also be helpful to have the annual statements showing the cash value of the policy. The statement will also show the cash surrender value of the policy.
  4. Get the contact number of the life insurance company that issued the policy. Contact the life insurance company to check whether the life insurance policy is still effective. Even though it's been some time that the premiums have not been paid, the dividends of the policy (if it has some) will work to pay for the premiums up to some extent.
  5. Get the details of the life insurance policy.
    • Present cash value
    • In-force illustration (which shows not just current, but also future cash values)
  6. Make the decision whether to cash out on the policy or to maintain the policy (if the insured is still living).
  7. The insurance company will ask you to provide proof that you are the owner of the policy.
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