Do you have any unclaimed money? Check to find out!


raining money

There’s a lot of frozen money out there that no one is claiming .. it’s in the billions. Some put the figure as high as $40 billion! Is any of it yours? Some of it could be if you’ve ever moved to another state or to another residence; if you’ve changed your name; if you’ve forgotten about a small bank account or a few shares of stock; or if a distant relative left you something in a life insurance policy or will.

Here are some of the most common forms of unclaimed money:

  • Inactive bank accounts, both checking and savings
  • Unfound life insurance or other account beneficiaries
  • Tax refunds that were misdirected
  • Unreturned utility deposits and escrow accounts
  • Refunds and credits
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed checks and wages
  • Insurance policies, CDs, trust funds
  • Unredeemed money orders or travelers checks
  • Unclaimed safe deposit boxes

If you’d like to check to see if there is any unclaimed money due you, here’s a tip:
The best place to start is MissingMoney.com.

This site is the only only free, state endorsed national database of missing money. The site is officially endorsed by NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators) and participating states and provinces. The site will assist you in thoroughly searching all participating states to find your family’s missing, lost, and unclaimed property, money and assets. It has the most updated information for the state and provincial offices. Searches and claiming are always FREE.

We tried it out and found a $65 insurance policy refund from a neighboring state we lived in more than 10 years ago. We filed a claim and the money will be sent to us. You can search the entire database or confine to a specific state. Don’t forget to search by any variations in your name. Here are some search tips and frequently asked questions.

Other resources for unclaimed money

While MissingMoney.com is the best site, you can also check these sources, too:

Scam alert – don’t get hooked

Beware of scams related to unclaimed money. While we’d all like to think that we won some money that we didn’t know about or have a distant wealthy deceased aunt who left us her fortune, it’s not likely to be true. Scammers thrive on our hopes, fantasies and greed – don’t give them the opportunity.

  • Beware of emails and phone calls that alert you to winnings or other unclaimed money. State and federal authorities do not use email or phone to notify you of unclaimed money. The IRS will never threaten you to “pay now or else.”
  • Beware of people who ask for bank or credit card information or personal details to process your winnings/inheritance.
  • Be careful of unauthorized search sites that charge a fee to use. Stick to the sites we’ve mentioned or call your state’s unclaimed money office or insurance bureau if you have questions.
  • Beware of people who try to charge you. While there are some legitimate finder businesses that search for lost property owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain their property for a fee, most “out of the blue” alerts should be treated with a high degree of suspicion. NAUPA recommends that “Before signing any contract from a firm of this type, we recommend that you be cautious and contact the unclaimed property office in your state for more information.” Plus, you are better running your own searches periodically and avoiding any fees!

Check out these scam alerts:

Life Insurance Survey: Most people have too little


Do you have life insurance? If so, you are among the 57% of Americans who do, according to a recent survey on life insurance by Bankrate Money Pulse. But even if you have it, do you have enough coverage to meet your financial goals? The survey found that of those who do have coverage, most people have under $100,000 – which would not be sufficient to sustain a young family or a surviving spouse.

“Especially vulnerable are families with children under 18. More than 1 in 3 of those parents (37%) have no life insurance at all, while a third of those who do have no more than $100,000 in coverage (32%).”

“The $25,000 to $100,000 policies that you usually see in employer group plans may cover your funeral expenses, but they’re not going to pay off a mortgage or put a kid through college,” Bridgeland says. “It’s worrisome to me to see that half of those insured have those levels of coverage.”

See the graph below for a more detailed breakdown of coverage amounts held by survey respondents.

life-insuranceInsurance Information Institute just released a good overview of the basics of life insurance in a short video – check it out!

The Odds of Dying: Perceived risk vs reality


June is National Safety Month sponsored by the National Safety Council. It’s a time to think about reducing leading causes of injury and death at the workplace, in our homes and in our communities. They’ve issued an interesting infographic on the Odds of Dying, noting that Americans often worry about the wrong things – check out the events we think will kill us vs. the ones that actually do, according to the numbers. (You can click for a bigger version).

If you’d like more detail on your personal odds, we have a prior post with a variety of mortality calculators to help you assess your own personal odds for longevity. They include life expectancy tables and a few interactive calculators. We leave you with two words: Life Insurance!

oddsofdying

Not to be too spooky, but how much is your body worth?


Happy Halloween! We couldn’t think of a more appropriate and ghoulish topic for the day than finding out what your body is worth. The excellent infographic below gives you a good body-part-by-body-part snapshot of your market value. (Click for larger). Or fill out a brief questionnaire for a more personalized version of your body’s worth in dollars and cents.

If you are feeling really macabre, you may want to visit the The Death Clock, which bills itself as “the Internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away… second by second.” Enter your date of birth, sex, BMI and smoking status. You can choose to your results on a scale ranging from “sadistic” to “optimistic” – or just plain “normal.” If things look really dire, think about your life insurance coverage and update your beneficiaries.  Oh — and we really can’t think of a better way to celebrate the day and ensure your longevity than to sign up as an organ donor.

body-value

What kills us?


Aaron Carroll is a physician and health policy researcher. He produces a series of videos called Healthcare Triage which answer a lot of questions people have about medicine, health, and healthcare. In his recent video, he talks about risk and mortality, saying:

One of the things that baffles me about people is how they completely misunderstand risk. Lots of my friends panic about things that have no real chance of killing them, but ignore the things that will. This can lead us to make irrational decisions, and sometimes irrational policy. What really will kill us? Watch and learn.

Read more about where he got his statistics:

No matter the odds, we never know what life has in store for us … and that’s where insurance comes in. Take reasonable precautions to lower your risk of injury or death and have protection in place to minimize the financial impact of any problems that do occur. If you have dependents who rely on your income, be sure to have adequate life insurance in place.

See our prior related posts

What’s Actually Dangerous?

Beach-goers: Worry less about sharks and more about surf and sand hazards

What are the odds? Mortality calculators