What happens to an unclaimed auto insurance premium check?

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Things to Remember...
  • Auto insurance premium checks are usually sent when a policyholder cancels and the balance is sent back
  • In most states, the auto insurance company must retain the unclaimed check for a specific period of time and you can just respond to the letter
  • If you are not sure if you have money that is due, the first step is to go to a site called Missing Money and complete a search
  • Since your unclaimed auto insurance premium check was more than likely the result a lack of communication, make sure you ask questions about any refunds due when you cancel your policy

An unclaimed auto insurance premium check can wind up in one of two locations. Before you start making calls, you will need specific information. This can help determine where you start looking.

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Auto insurance premium checks are usually sent when a policyholder cancels and the balance is sent back. In many instances, this is because after the cancellation, a credit is placed on the account for the unused portion and a check is generated and mailed to the address on file.

Maybe the policyholder never received the check or perhaps it was stolen or destroyed after leaving the auto insurance company’s mailroom.

At any rate, the unclaimed auto insurance premium checks are placed in this status because the party who was supposed to receive the payment never cashed the check.

In this case, each insurance company has their own individual fail-safe and procedures.

If after a certain number of days, some wait 60, 90 or even 180, the check has not been cashed it is considered void. At that point, the automobile insurance company usually sends letters to the policyholder advising of their intention to send them the money.

Claiming your Auto Insurance Premium Prior to State Notification

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In most states, the auto insurance company must retain the unclaimed check for a specific period of time and you can just respond to the letter.

However, if you have moved and failed to forward your new address through the United States Postal Service, you may not receive the notice.

You can always contact the auto insurance company if you know you have a refund due. Most people who have online accounts can access their information via the Internet and review their final statement.

As long as you can verify the previous account number and amount you are owed, they can simply cut a new check and send it to your new address.

However, what happens if you do not know you should get a refund?

If you have canceled your policy and were not advised of a credit balance or do not have the ability to check online, you may not be aware of the amount due.

In these types of situations, the auto insurance company must keep the check on file and in their possession in accordance with state law.

The timeframe varies from state to state, for example, The Pennsylvania Treasury requires a five-year hold. This means the automobile insurance company cannot transfer these funds to their office unless you have failed to contact them for no less than five years.

Claiming your Auto Insurance Premium Check after State Notification

If, after the appointed timeframe elapses, the auto insurance company writes the amount off their books and transfers the check to the Department of Treasury in your corresponding state.

Every state has a website where you can find all types of information for claiming your auto insurance premium check.

Once you log on, make sure you click on the correct link, often labeled unclaimed property. You will be directed to an online claims form or provided with a telephone number.

If you cannot file your claim online, be prepared with the proper documentation before contacting a representative.

They will take your information and send you a form to complete. The form must be filled out, signed, and mailed.

If you are lucky enough to reside in a state that allows you to claim your check online, you will still need certain documents to prove you are the rightful owner of the check. Under most circumstances, this includes your name, previous policy number, Social Security number, new address, and contact telephone number.

After submitting the claim, you will receive a confidential, confirmation e-mail with a Web ID number attached.This is your claim identifier. Keep this number in a safe place.

The average turn-around time to receive your check varies, depending upon how busy the department is and the number of claims that have been received.

All claims are processed in the order in which they were received.

If you have not received any information within four to six weeks of filing your claim, you should log onto the Treasury website and enter your Web ID number. This will provide you with the status of your claim.

You can also place a call and speak directly with a representative, just remember to provide them with your Web ID number for easy access.

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Costs or Fees Associated with Unclaimed Auto Insurance Premium Checks

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, or NAUPA, there is never a fee to search for unclaimed property, including automobile insurance checks when you go directly to the state Treasury website or contact them by phone to initiate your claim.

However, there are quite a few businesses out there that can charge you to search for your unclaimed check.

Because of the Freedom of Information Act, these companies have the right to obtain specific information, build databases, and offer their services, for a fee.

They are often called locators and once they locate your unclaimed check, they can charge you a percentage of the amount found, before they surrender the information. Fortunately, many states place a limit of 10 percent.

Finding Unclaimed Auto Insurance Premium Checks

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Every state in America has a dedicated department that works diligently to return all types of unclaimed property, including automobile insurance checks.

If you are not sure if you have money that is due, the first step is to go to a site called Missing Money and complete a search.

Begin your search by entering your first name, middle initial and last name. Add your city and state and click go. You will be directed to an entire list of possible matches.

If you recognize your name and previous address, you can choose to complete the claim form or contact the state where your unclaimed auto insurance check is being held. More than likely, it is the Treasury Department.

They will have both their website and telephone number listed. Follow the steps and within a very short time, you should have your check in the mail.

Some sights even provide you with the option of having the check deposited directly into your checking account. Just make sure the information you provide is accurate to avoid any further delays.

Prevent Future Losses and Unclaimed Auto Insurance Premium Checks

One of the best lessons you can learn after going through the process of submitting a claim for your insurance check is to make sure you complete the following:

Understand the importance of consistent communication. Since your unclaimed auto insurance premium check was more than likely the result a lack of communication, make sure you ask questions about any refunds due when you cancel your policy.

This includes how the money will be refunded. If they offer the direct deposit option, take it. Your money will be made available much faster.

Confirm the address they have on file. If your car insurance company wants to send the check by mail, make sure they have your most current address, this is especially important if you are moving soon.

It can sometimes take a full 30 days before they process your cancellation and generate the check. If you move during this time, you may not receive the refund.

Keep accurate records of all of your finances, this includes every transaction you make with your car insurance company and your payments.

If you need to contact them because you think you are due a refund and have not received one, you may need to provide proof of all of your payments before they issue a refund. If necessary, open a safe deposit box so all of your paperwork is together in one place.

The Importance of having a Power of Attorney or Beneficiary

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It is very important to have a Power of Attorney who can conduct business in your name if you become ill or incapacitated, especially when it pertains to unclaimed auto insurance premiums.

If you do not designate someone to take care of your personal issues, your check can very easily sit in the Treasury for years.

The same is true for your beneficiary. If you pass away and have unclaimed property, like an insurance premium check without establishing a beneficiary, no one can collect this money.

The government becomes the sole benefactor of your hard-earned dollars and no one in your family, who may be in financial need, will be able to collect or even inquire.

For these reasons, it is extremely important that you choose someone trustworthy to handle your affairs for you. Even if you are not ill, it is still a good idea to speak with a family member or good friend and consider sharing your personal information with them.

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