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State Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations

Although there's no federal program in place that protects consumers from insurance company failures, each state has an insurance guaranty association (GA) that backs up insurance company policies in the event of the insurance company's bankruptcy. Guaranty Associations are funded by assessments on insurance companies licensed to do business in a particular state.

If your insurance company should fail, your policy is generally protected by the GA in your state of residence, even if you bought the policy while living in another state. In some cases, the protection may be provided by the state where the insurance company had its headquarters.

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The amount of insurance protection provided by a Guaranty Association varies by state and type of insurance. Most commonly, common insurance limits are set at:

  • $300,000 in life insurance death benefits

  • $100,000 in cash surrender or withdrawal values for life insurance

  • $100,000 in withdrawal and cash values for annuities

  • $100,000 in health insurance policy benefits

The overall benefit cap in most states for an individual life is $300,000, although some states have maximums that are much higher. The above coverage limits apply separately for each insolvent insurer.

To find out what happened to a company that no longer exists go to: Life Insurance Company Trace

For the specific guidelines in force in your state of residence go to the  NOLHGA National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations website and follow the link to your state's guaranty association.