Lost pensions when moving house? You’re not alone.
If you have lost pensions when moving home in the past, you are certainly not alone! Here’s how to stay close to your pension pot and track down missing pensions.
There might not be much house moving taking place right now.
But when you do move house, one of the organisations you need to tell is your pension provider.
Millions of pension pots could be ‘missing’ because we move home and fail to tell pension providers about our new contact details.
New research commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has estimated there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion going unclaimed.
That’s equivalent to nearly £13,000 for each unclaimed pension pot.
The Government predicts that there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pensions by 2050. In 2017 more than 375,000 attempts were made to contact customers, leading to £1 billion in assets being reunited with them.
Tracking down lost pensions
If you go AWOL, your pension provider will make best efforts to reunite you with your lost pension, life insurance or investments. They usually try to track you down by writing to your new address.
The ABI research is designed to help insurance and pension providers with guidance to identify, track down, verify and reconnect people with lost savings through improving reconnection communications.
Because people move house 8 times in their life, on average, it’s essential to add this to your to-list when you move.
The research found that 89% of us automatically think about telling our GP or dentist when we move home.
But only 1 in 25 people instinctively think about telling their pension provider about a change of address.
Unsurprisingly, the highest priority on our moving home checklists is letting our bank and utility providers
Only when prompted, just half of the people think contacting their pension provider is a high priority.
According to the research, different generations use different approaches to remind themselves what actions to take when moving home.
Even with this help to remember, tasks perceived as ‘boring’ are pushed down the list of priorities, sometimes not included at all.
So-called boring tasks often include telling life insurance and pension providers about new contact details.
Dr Yvonne Braun, Director of Policy, Long-Term Savings and Protection at the ABI said:
During the lockdown many of us have been focussing on those jobs that never get done, so now is the perfect opportunity to check all your financial information is up to date with the correct address. It is simple to do. All you need is to check the address on your last annual statement or log in to your provider’s website. Don’t worry if you don’t have this information, we have a guide on our website to help track your insurance and pension policies and some tips on responding to tracing letters, along with our members’ contact details.
Long-term savings providers will continue to work hard to reunite people with their lost money. People deserve all the cash they are entitled to. To ensure more people than ever are reconnected we will continue to work with Government to explore ways data can be used to verify customer addresses.
How to find lost pensions
If you have moved house in the past and forgotten to tell your pension provider, you can start by looking through old policy documents and bank statements to identify your provider.
Most pension providers publish their contact details on their websites.
If your pension provider was acquired by another organisation, you can search on the ABI’s Keep Track of your Pension page to find their new contact details.
There’s also a free template letter from the Money Advice Service, designed to help you ask for policy information from the pension provider.
If you don’t know your pension provider, the right action to take will depend on the type of pension plan.
For a workplace pension from a previous employer, you could contact them to ask for your scheme or provider details.
Alternatively, you can use the Government’s free Pension Tracing Service, which can help you track down the name and contact details of the employer’s pension scheme.
The Pension Tracing Scheme will not tell you whether you have a pension with that scheme, or what it’s worth.