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Suicide Exclusion And The Denial Of Life Insurance

Last updated: April 12, 2023

Suicide rates have skyrocketed in the last few years. You may need to find out if your loved one's life insurance company wrongfully denied death benefits based on allegations that they committed suicide or doctor-assisted suicide. After the relevant law enforcement authority is done with their investigations, your attorney’s team will review your claim and the departed's death certificate so that they can ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Due to the complexity involved in such allegations, your rights and those of your deceased loved one must be protected so that they remain at peace in death with dignity. Some rare cases might mandate an autopsy report even days after the death of the person in question,

Life Insurance And Suicide

In most life policies, a provision by the insurance agent explicitly declines coverage in the event of suicide. It is a fact that suicide exclusions vary from state to state. However, they generally last either one or two years from the date coverage begins, depending on the state.

In the event of death, the term life insurance policy beneficiary will be reimbursed for premiums if an insured commits suicide during this period but will not be awarded the death benefit if the insured commits suicide during this period. There are a few exceptions to this rule; if an insured commits suicide within a year or two of the expiration of an insurance policy's suicide clause, the insurer cannot deny the death benefit based on suicide. The timeframe for the suicide clause is reset when a policyholder replaces one life insurance policy with another (say, accident insurance), so it starts all over when the new policy becomes effective when the timeframe for the suicide clause is reset.

The Rationale For Suicide Exclusion

The insurers do not have a way to determine if an applicant will become suicidal or whether they are currently suicidal. The purpose of the suicide clause is to keep someone who might be a suicide risk from insuring themselves with hefty life insurance policies to ensure that a beneficiary receives a great payout in the event that they commit suicide.

A suicide exclusion is often enforced by an insurer when an actual issue of suicide has arisen. It is also true that there are many times when the insurance company gets it wrong when it comes to determining whether a death took place within the exclusionary period or not. What is the difference between suicide or accidental death caused by an overdose of drugs? Is it possible for the insurance company to legitimately claim death by suicide if your loved one, who was battling cancer at the time of the accident, died as a result of the accident?

You have legal recourse within the contestable period if you find yourself in one of these situations or if your life insurance application is denied based on the suicide clause, among others. It is possible to appeal a denial of permanent life insurance benefits that is wrongly based on the grounds of suicide with the help of their life insurance denial attorneys and contest the insurance company's decision.

Insurance Company Must Make An Arguable Case For Suicide

In many cases, it is difficult to determine whether a loved one's death was caused by an accident, an illness, or a suicide when it occurs. For an insurance company to prove that a policyholder took their own life, it has to prove that the policyholder did so. The strength of such a case depends upon the factual evidence and the investigation. The insurance company must be able to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the insured committed suicide.

There have been many experiences with insurance cases similar to yours, so you can be assured that the insurance lawyers are uniquely qualified to help you determine if you have a case. There are strict time limits set by the law within which an appeal must be filed if the individual life insurance policy is part of a group benefits plan sponsored by the policyholder's employer. You must act swiftly if you wish to appeal such a policy.

Suicide Exclusion Denials

The defendants' legal counsel will be prepared to defend their case beyond the formal discovery process. As part of their investigation, they will offer a factual account of events surrounding the policyholder's accidental or suicidal death and use additional evidence to support their life insurance claim, and get them the life insurance payment that is due to them. You may need to answer a health questionnaire under the preview of a health review that includes physical and mental health questions pertaining to the departed in the months or even years preceding their demise. All these steps are necessary to give your attorneys a fighting chance to secure you the financial incentives you deserve. 

Finding The Right Attorney For Your Case

Different attorneys should handle different cases of wrongful denials arising from suicide exclusions. When countering an insurance company's allegations that a suicide took place, they must possess the knowledge and resources necessary to appeal these denials.

If your life insurance or accidental death claim has been delayed or denied, look up a qualified, experienced attorney to request a free case evaluation. Let them review your claim to see if life insurance proceeds should be paid.

Applying for Social Security benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article on foraminal stenosis and applying for SSD benefits. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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