Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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IMPORTANT: If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide for the life insurance benefits and needs help then call the United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or visit Save.org for suicide prevention assistance.

Suicide & Life Insurance BenefitsSuicide is a devastating event and most surviving family members are not thinking about life insurance right away but the questions remains: can a life insurance beneficiary collect from a life insurance policy after the insured commits suicide?

The answer is: it depends. It depends on the individual policy’s suicide clause and the stipulation of that clause. The information in the article that follows further specifies details about suicide clauses and how they affect the payment of a life insurance policy.

Life insurance is an important safety net and the decision to purchase a life insurance policy is an important one. Read further to learn some more specifics about life insurance and suicide and then be sure to enter your zip code in above for a free life insurance quote comparison!

What is a suicide clause?

Almost all life insurance policies have a suicide clause. A suicide clause gives specific details as to how the circumstances of the life insurance policy will be dealt with if the insured commits suicide.

Most suicide clauses have a 1-2 year waiting period meaning that if someone purchases a policy and commits suicide before the waiting period is up, the policy will not be paid. The waiting period differs for each insurance company according to that company‘s policy and state regulation.

The purpose of the waiting period is to prevent someone who is planning their suicide from taking out a life insurance policy prior to the event as a way to take care of the family they are leaving behind. The thought behind this is that someone who is planning a suicide generally does not wait 1-2 years for a policy to kick in. In some cases, if the suicide is committed before the waiting period is up, the insurance company will refund the premiums that have already been paid.

After the waiting period, some insurance companies will pay the full amount while other companies will only pay if mental illness can be proven by the family of the deceased. Mental illness can be proven through doctor records, psychologist records, medication subscribed, verification of stays in mental illness facilities, and police records. If this can be proven, the insurance company will pay the policy.

If the insurance company refuses to pay because the death is questionable or it was determined inconclusive by a coroner, the beneficiary can file a claim for the amount. It is then up to the insurance company to prove that it was indeed a suicide. If the amount is large, typically over $500,000, the insurance company may hire investigators or a lawyer to prove their case. If the amount is lower, the insurance company may try to settle with the beneficiary for a lower amount.

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Should I hire an attorney for beneficiary collection?

It is sometimes difficult to be objective when you are dealing with a suicide, and the question of life insurance needs to be settled. There are some situations in which the wise thing to do is to hire an attorney. One reason to do this is if you, as the beneficiary, are having trouble making decisions and dealing with the ins and outs of the insurance industry while still grieving the loss of a loved one. An attorney who specializes in life insurance policies, will know how to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Another reason to hire an attorney is if you feel the insurance company is not upholding their end of the policy contract or if you feel the insurance company is wrongly interpreting the policy. You should not sign anything or cash any checks from the insurance company if you are unsure about the amount you are being paid. An attorney can review the terms of the policy, the suicide clause, and other documentation and help you get what you deserve.

It can be costly to hire a lawyer so you have to look at the overall picture of what will be coming from the insurance payment, what you feel you should be getting but aren’t, and what the lawyer would cost you. All of these things should be part of your decision whether or not to pay a lawyer to take on your insurance company. Most lawyers will allow you to pay them after the case is settled, and you can pay them from the money you receive from the insurance company.

Life insurance is very important, and finding a company that you can trust is just as important. When you find a company be sure to read and understand all the clauses in your policy including the suicide clause. If you are not sure what company to choose, try using an online life insurance comparison tool to compare rates and quotes from top life insurance companies. This is a fast and convenient way to locate several companies that will work for you. Just enter your zip code to start now!