Over the hundreds of year I’ve been in the life insurance business I’ve given out who knows how many thousands of business cards and sent out who knows how many quotes, all a paper trail leading back to me saying that maybe there is life insurance in force.

I always hate to the be the bearer of bad news to someone who has just experienced a tragedy in their life, but I field a lot of calls from, usually, widows who found quotes or a business card and are hoping that their deceased spouse had actually followed through and purchased life insurance. Most of the time their husbands went through the motions and decided that heck, they weren’t going to waste money since they were healthy and would likely outlive their wives anyway.

Occasionally though comes the strange call when the deceased husband had actually put life insurance in force and never told their wife. I just find that really absurd, but then maybe that’s just the kind of relationship they had. I don’t want my wife to have to wonder or worry, so she knows exactly what I have, where the policies are and I’ve even told her that if something happens, don’t try to deal with it herself. I have an agent friend of mine who has agreed to help her out if that day comes.

But then some guys just leave a business card in the file that vaguely says something about life insurance. Most of the time when I talk with those widows that are fortunate enough to find out that their husbands had something in force, it has taken them a long time. Most of them assume at first that there wasn’t any and it’s only when they are going through personal papers that they find some glimmer of hope, a business card or correspondence about life insurance, or better yet an actual policy.

There is the occasional odd ball spouse that doesn’t want anyone to have life insurance, bad luck you know. But most by far would love to know that their spouse cares enough to have life insurance and would gladly pass on the scavenger hunt after you’ve passed.

Bottom line. Tell two people you’ve got it and where the policy is. Tell your spouse. Anything short of that just isn’t right. Then tell someone else, either the contingent beneficiary if they are of age, or an adult relative that can help them if they aren’t just in the horrible situation where you might both tragically be lost in a common accident. And don’t put it in a safety deposit box unless someone else has access upon your death and they know that the policy is there.