Life is about navigating the highs and lows, and every person is affected differently. One aspect that comes up is passing away from suicide, and how that is handled with a life insurance policy. It’s a hard topic to broach, but is one people should have a better understanding of. In this blog post, we will be going over some of the specifics.
Table of Contents
Part one: Suicide clause
Life insurance is built so that you are protected financially in the event of a loved ones passing, but what if they passed as the result of suicide? Well, life insurance policies have a suicide clause. The clause states that if the policy holder takes their own life during the first two years of the policy that the death benefit will not be paid out. Typically this clause is two years, but rarely varies.
Part two: Contestability period
The contestability period is what they call the first two years of a policy. This is where the insurance carrier is allowed to investigate a policy holders death and the information on the application. They receive data from the coroners report along with their own thorough investigation. They then determine if the cause of death is within the agreed terms. There are other ways a premium might not be paid out, such as if you are a hobbyist skydiver and didn’t include that on the application, then you die as a result of skydiving.
Part three: Why a contestability period?
Now, this may all seem insensitive to say that people who take their lives after taking out a life insurance policy are all fraudsters. But fraud is a big deal, and effects everyone. This contestability period protects honest policy holders and ensures the death benefit reaches those who matter most, your beneficiaries. Without it, rates would be too high because they wouldn’t be able to combat dishonest claims and potential abuse. Just like with your auto insurance, the risk (in this case, the risk of death) is pooled and the more payouts there are determine how high your monthly premium is.
Part three: Suicide beyond
During the contestability period, if any form of fraud is found, only the premiums paid will be returned. After the contestability period (usually 2 years), most any cause of death will be covered, including suicide. This is why it is so important to be honest in all aspects of the life insurance application. There will be an investigation upon your death so to keep your family protected you have to be forthcoming and honest with your agent so that they will be protected. You only get one chance to make it right.
Part four: Mental wellness
Be honest. There will be many questions about your life and what kind of factors may contribute to your mortality. The type of questions include occupation, hobbies, travel history, criminal history, and health history. This may include mental health history and specifically suicidal ideation. It may be difficult to confront this, and may raise your premiums, but it is absolutely necessary so that your family is protected.
When planning ahead for the future and thinking about life insurance, you need to know everything that is involved. That includes approaching the topic of suicide with the utmost compassion and empathy. Families that are dealing with the loss of a loved one in this way are struggling with the challenges involved. I urge those of you that this applies to seek professional advice. To those who are planning to get a policy, I urge you to be honest on the application.