Savings bonds issued by the U.S. government are considered one of the safest investments in the world. But no investment is so safe that some people won't misplace their records or bond certificates. Fortunately, your lost savings bonds can be replaced even if you don't know the bond serial numbers.
Paper Savings Bonds
Savings bonds are issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury and have traditionally been sold as paper certificates to individuals and institutional investors. Paper savings bonds are sold at half their face value and reach full value after maturity. For example, you can purchase a $100 savings bond for $50 and cash it in for its full face value when the bond reaches maturity. The maturity period in 2011 is 30 years.
Electronic Savings Bonds
The Treasury Department announced in July 2011 that paper savings bonds will be discontinued in 2012. Purchases of all Series EE savings bonds (fixed interest) and Series I bonds (inflation-adjusted interest) will be handled electronically. Electronically-purchased bonds are bought at face value, so a $100 bond costs $100. The bond holder receives regular interest on the bond, which is electronically deposited into a designated savings account or other account.
Lost Paper Bonds
A bond holder who has lost paper bond certificates can ask the Treasury Department to issue replacement bonds. Make the request by filling out Form PD F 1048, "Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds," which can be downloaded at the Treasury website. Although the form requests information on the serial numbers of the lost bonds, you are not required to provide this information in order to receive replacements.
You may be eligible for emergency replacement of savings bonds that you lost or that were destroyed as the result of a disaster situation, such as a hurricane or flood. The Treasury Department website identifies areas classified as disaster areas and provides instructions for contacting local institutions for rapid replacement of missing savings bonds.
Lost Electronic Bond Records
Interest on bonds purchased electronically is regularly paid to your bank account through electronic transfer of funds. Your bank can provide details of your bond holdings if you lose information on your savings bonds. You can also contact customer service at the Treasury Department for information on the status of your account.
David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.