MIAMI (CBS4) – The odds of winning the Powerball are a whopping one in 175 million.
The odds of you finding out that a government entity or a business, like an insurance company, owes you money are about one in 600. Ralph Zeth knows. He said he couldn’t believe it when he found out there was nearly $3,000 waiting for him from an insurance policy taken out by his mother who passed away in 2002.
“I said, you know, ‘Jeesh, from the grave she’s still having an impact on my life’, it’s amazing,” said Zeth.
Zeth used the money to help pay for a trip to Italy, something, he said, his mother would have loved.
It turns out his pay out was just a drop in the bucket. Experts believe there is approximately one billion dollars in benefits from misplaced or forgotten life insurance policies waiting to be claimed. While million dollar payouts are extremely rare, some have reached into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For more than a decade, CBS4 had told viewers about Florida’s unclaimed property program and its fltreasurehunt.org website. Currently there is more than a billion dollars in twelve and half million unclaimed accounts.
In Miami-Dade County alone there is more than $303 million dollars waiting to be claimed. Broward has another $184 million and there is $8 million in Monroe County accounts.
So who’s owed money around South Florida?
CBS4 Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine found accounts for the Florida Marlins, Miami Dolphins and even several local county agencies.
Along with the state some insurance companies, like John Hancock and Metlife, are also making it easier for benefactors to collect their unclaimed money. All they have to do is type their name into their policy finder websites, fill out a form and provide proof of a connection to the account.
Florida’s unclaimed property program used to advertise account holders several times a year in local newspapers. To save money, however, that practice was discontinued several years ago.
The search site is operated free of charge by the state. The program also includes the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes. The “treasure” found inside has included diamonds, gold, precious gems, even autographed baseballs from Babe Ruth.
Under state law, the contents are auctioned off if their rightful owners can’t be located after several years.
Click Here to see if the U.S. government owes you anything.