If you want to live a comfortable life, retire and live the lifestyle you want, or manage debt successfully, it’s vital to keep control of your finances.
However, recent research published by This is Money has revealed that Brits may have as much as £50 billion “lost” in inactive or dormant accounts.
The analysis shows that there are around 20 million people with unclaimed money languishing in forgotten pensions, unclaimed life insurance, bank accounts, savings, and investments.
If the research is accurate, it could equate to an average of £2,500 for every person who has lost track of an old account.
Finding unclaimed insurance or an old pension or savings account could give you a useful financial windfall. So, read on to find out how to track down old life insurance policies, savings and investments, pensions and Child Trust Fund accounts.
£2 billion in unclaimed life insurance
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) there is £2 billion sitting in unclaimed and forgotten life insurance policies in the UK.
If you are trying to establish whether a family member or friend had a life insurance policy, but you do not have the policy document and do not know the name of the insurer, there are several steps you can take.
Firstly, check the individual’s bank account and credit card statements for evidence of payments to an insurer. This can show you if they were making regular payments to an insurance company, who you can then contact to make further enquiries.
A complete Association of British Insurers member list – with details including current address and telephone number – is available online.
If you have a life insurance policy and you have the policy document, but you cannot contact the insurer, it’s possible that the company that issued the policy may have changed its name or been acquired by another insurer.
Policy Detective offers an online search that can help you find out what happened to an insurer and provides contact information for the institution or its successor. You can also see a sample letter of enquiry for unclaimed policies.
How to find lost savings and bank accounts
There are lots of reasons you could lose track of a bank or building society savings account – and the most common is because you move home.
Banks, building societies and National Savings & Investments (NS&I) try and keep in touch with their customers and will contact you if an account has been inactive for an extended period. If they don’t receive a response, they will stop sending correspondence and will class the account as “lost”.
You might also forget about an account for other reasons:
- You changed a bank account without closing your old account, which then continued to accrue interest
- Secondary bank accounts can also be forgotten about during major life events
- Someone else, such as a parent or spouse, opened an account on someone else’s behalf and this has ultimately led to it becoming lost.
If you may have lost touch with your bank, building society or NS&I account, My Lost Account could be a good option. It’s a free service that covers more than 30 banks, all 43 UK building societies and the full range of NS&I products.
If you have a lost account with a bank, a building society, NS&I – or all three – you can initiate a search simply by visiting this website and completing one application form.
The information you provided using the application form is passed to the institutions that may be holding the lost account. They will then carry out a search of their lost accounts and they will let you know if any account they hold matches the details you submitted online.
Finding lost pensions
With the average UK worker changing jobs more than 12 times in their lifetime, according to Zippia, it’s likely that you will pay into multiple pension schemes with different employers during your career.
So, it’s perhaps not a surprise that you might lose track of some of your funds, especially if you didn’t pay into them for a long period.
These job changes, you moving home and failing to update your details, and a lack of financial experience in your early years, can mean you lose track of what you saved and when.
The government’s Pensions Tracing Service can be a good place to start. It’s a free service and lets you find contact details to search for a lost pension. It can reveal contact details of your workplace or personal pension scheme, or someone else's scheme if you have their permission.
You will need the name of an employer or a pension provider to use this service, so some memory is required. It won’t, however, inform you whether or not you have a pension, or what its value is.
Finding a Child Trust Fund
More than 6 million Child Trust Funds were set up for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, designed to provide children with a lump sum at the age of 18.
According to This is Money, between September 2020 when the first accounts matured and April 2021, £393 million was withdrawn, leaving £374 million unclaimed.
If your child has turned 18, or is set to turn 18 in the future, there could be a tidy windfall waiting for them.
You do not necessarily need to know your provider to trace where a Child Trust Fund is held. You should fill in an online form to ask HMRC where the account was originally opened, although you will need to create a Government Gateway User ID and password if you don't already have one.
If you're looking for your own trust fund, you'll need your National Insurance number to hand.
Make sure you have the right protection in place
Tracking down a lost pension, savings account or life insurance policy could provide you with an unexpected financial windfall. Spending some time searching online could unearth valuable policies or accounts you had “lost”.
When it comes to making sure you receive the right windfall when the worst happens, we can help. As protection experts, we can scour the market for you to find you the cover you need at the best price.
We’ll compare the prices of dozens of the UK’s leading insurers and ensure you don’t pay more than you have to for:
- Life insurance – Get the peace of mind that your loved ones will receive a lump sum if you pass away. It can enable them to maintain their standard of living or pay off their mortgage.
- Family income benefit – Provide your family with a regular monthly income until your children are financially independent if you were to pass away.
- Critical Illness cover – Receive a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious medical condition such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. It can help you pay off your mortgage or meet bills and other commitments if you’re not able to work.
If you want the reassurance that you and your family will receive vital financial support when you need it, get in touch and speak to one of our experts.
Alternatively, head online now and get a life insurance quote in just a few minutes.
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