A study shows that forgotten pensions, lost life insurance polices, dormant bank accounts and misplaced lottery tickets are among the reasons for unclaimed cash.
The figures show that there is an estimated £5 billion in dormant bank accounts, £3 billion sitting in unclaimed pensions and £1 billion in missing life insurance policies.
In the last six months alone, more than £8.5 million has been lying idle in Lottery prize money, including one £4.6 million jackpot-winning ticket bought in Barking, east London.
The analysis was carried out by an online life insurance provider which has worked with a collective of British artists to turn its policies into art to prevent people from losing their details – the most common reason for the £1 billion worth of policies going unclaimed.
The artists behind the Beagle Street life insurance policy art include Jessica Albarn, sister of Blur frontman Damon, and leading typography print-maker Anthony Burrill. Each piece of art is embroidered with “enjoy life” on the front, with customer policy details printed on the back.
According to the figures there is £3 billion sitting in both National Savings and Investment (NS&I) accounts and unfulfilled shares and dividends. There are more than 1.1 million unclaimed Premium Bonds worth around £50 million, with the largest unclaimed prize estimated at £25,000.
If money that is left sitting in bank accounts is not claimed within 15 years of lying idle, it will be collected by the government, with its first claim on dormant funds estimated to be £60 million to £100 million.
Matthew Gledhill, managing director of Beagle Street, said: “There is simply too much money sitting unclaimed and far too many people who are missing out on money that is rightfully theirs.
“For people who have experienced bereavement in the family, a life insurance policy could be a lifeline but there are clearly people who do not know they have been financially protected or have forgotten their policy even exists.
“We hope our customers never need to use their cover but by turning our policies into art that can be hung on the wall we’re making it really easy.”