If you are like many people, you have probably wondered how to best organize and store your life insurance records. You should store all of your insurance policies, regardless of what type, in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box. You can always keep copies of the originals in your regular files at home, but it is a good idea to keep the originals in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box because they will have a much higher level of protection. It is critical (in case something happens to you) that the individuals who may ever need to access the policies, know about the policies, know where they are located, and are able to access them.
Life Insurance Policies Specifically
Many people have more than one life insurance policy, which can be because we have one or more through our employer, and/or because we have also obtained private policies or annuities. To keep your life insurance records organized and easy to locate, it’s a good idea to put all of your policies in one “life insurance” file and store it in either a safety deposit box or fire-proof safe with your other policies. You want to make sure that your life insurance records are safe and can be located easily because if something were to happen to you, the last thing you would want is for your beneficiaries to have difficulty locating such records while dealing with the stress of your passing.
As mentioned earlier, you should keep original policies in a fire-proof safe of safety deposit box, and keep copies at home or the home of a trusted individual. The reason for this is that you will have the originals well-protected, but will also now have copies of the policies in two different places. The purpose of this is to enable your beneficiaries to locate the necessary life insurance documents in the event of your passing, but is also designed to protect these important documents from being destroyed or lost due to fire, flood, theft, or another cause. With two sets of records, if one set of records was lost or couldn’t be located, there would still be another set.
For each life insurance policy and in each storage location, you should keep the following information:
- The name of the life insurance carrier for the policy
- The city and state of the carrier’s headquarters or home office
- The name and address of the company that owns/operates the life insurance company
- The type of policy (whole life, term, annuity, etc.)
- The policy number (or certificate number)
- The date the policy was first issued
- The amount of the policy (also called death benefit)
- The name and address of the agent/broker who sold you the policy
- Any other contact information such as phone numbers for the carrier and agent/broker
The reason why you want to keep such detailed information about each policy is because you want to prevent your beneficiaries from having to deal with the unfortunate event of your passing and the additional stress that could result from any confusion or difficulty in verifying or locating policy. Keeping your policies organized and safe will provide you with this peace of mind.