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Locating Insurance Policies

by Kelly E. Riddle

There are several reasons why an insurance company may want to locate someone else’s insurance policy. First, if the person was involved in an automobile accident with their insured and didn’t have insurance, they may need to confirm this. Many times, the person may have had insurance coverage, but the police officer didn’t ask them for it, the person couldn’t find their policy card, or the person was transported to the hospital and could not provide the information. If the insurance company offered personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, they would be interested in regaining the money they spent on their insured (subrogation). There are several ways to locate insurance coverage, including:

Auto Insurance
• Run the person’s driving history and obtain copies of any prior accident reports. Call and confirm an insurance policy if found.
• Run the person through the local police department and see if they show any reports not listed on the driver’s license history. These will often be accidents that occur on private property but will have insurance coverage listed.
• Check with local and county police court records to see if the person has had any speeding or related traffic tickets. If so, request to look at the copy and see if the officer listed the insurance company on the ticket.
• Run the license plate on a car and see if a lienholder is listed. If a loan is taken out on the car, the bank or other lienholder will require the car to be insured to protect the bank’s interest. Contact the lienholder to see if they list the insurance company.
• Call the major insurance companies and simply ask them if they have a policy on the person or the car.
• If the person is a young adult, conduct the above-listed searches using their parent’s names.
• If needed, conduct a pre-text call to the person’s residence and pose as an insurance telemarketer. Inform them that you will send them a free quote and ask them who they currently have insurance with.
• If the person is young or has a history of traffic violations, contact those companies that write “high-risk” policies. These companies are also the same ones that write short-term policies for one month, three, or six months primarily to satisfy the requirement for insurance for the person to renew their driver’s license or vehicle registrations.
• Contact the local Tax Assessor’s office or The Department of Public Safety and determine who the person listed as their insurance company upon renewing their license or vehicle registration.

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Mortgage Insurance
In many cases, the PI may be asked to locate the homeowner’s insurance. This may be necessary when an insurance company has had to pay medical bills for an injury, dog bite, slip, and fall, or similar circumstances that they had to pay on behalf of their insured.

When hunting for mortgage insurance, you can conduct some of the following:

 • Check with the local county tax assessor’s office for the property owner. Suppose the person living in the house does not own the property. In that case, chances are they only have a renter’s or fire policy which would list the owner for liability coverage. If the person living in the house is the owner, check to see who the mortgage company is. Once again, the house probably has a loan, and the mortgage company will require an insurance policy.
• If the tax assessor’s office did not provide the mortgage company, try the tax appraisal office. One of the two should list the information.
• If neither the tax assessor nor the tax appraisal office lists the mortgage company, try the county deed records for a copy of the deed of trust and related documents that will list the mortgage company.
• In some police departments, you are allowed to conduct an “address survey” by completing a special form or sending a written request to the agency. The police department will tell you every call made to the particular house. Check the reports for any useful information.
• Call the larger insurance companies in the area and see if they show a current policy.

Commercial Insurance
Whether checking for property or liability insurance, you can use some of the following methods: 

• Check with the city/county permit office and pull the certificate of occupancy application to search for applicable insurance information.
• If the business is a trade-related business such as plumbers, carpenters, or similar businesses, call the local union hall and inquire as to which insurance companies specialize in writing policies for those types of businesses.
• Check the UCC/financial statements at the courthouse and see if the business has listed anything as collateral for a loan. Contact the entity making the loan to see if they show any insurance for the business.
• Conduct a search of the county deed records of any loans or other records that may give you a lead.
• Check civil records to search for a company’s lawsuit involvement and review for insurance information.
• If the company has its own vehicles, run the license plates and see who the lienholder is. Chances are, the auto insurance company may also provide them with other coverage.
• Place a pre-text call to the company requesting permission to provide them with a quote and inquire as to their current carrier.

These are only some of the methods, but they are the most common for locating insurance policies. Good luck!  

About the Author
Kelly E. Riddle is the President of Kelmar Global and the PI Institute of Education, training more than 7,500 PI’s since 1989. With more than 41 years of investigative experience and author of 16 published books he is only one of 50 PI’s who’s a Texas Certified Investigator. Riddle is also the founder and President of the Council of Association Leaders, Association of Christian Investigators, and a graduate of University of North Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

We’re always listening. Send your story submission/idea to the Editor: kendra@orep.org.

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