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

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Just as important as knowing what is covered by a life insurance policy is knowing what life insurance doesn’t cover. Being prepared for a likely or unlikely death allows those left behind to be taken care of properly.

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Knowing what life insurance doesn’t cover is a crucial step when reviewing and purchasing a policy. The answer is simple, life insurance doesn’t cover anything that is listed as an exclusion on the policy. This is different from company to company and person to person. The following article will provide additional information concerning life insurance exclusions.

A life insurance policy exclusion is any incident or circumstance surrounding a policy holder’s death that excludes the beneficiary from receiving the payout of the life insurance policy.

As stated before, exclusions will vary depending under different circumstances or different companies; however, there are some typical life insurance exclusions that exist with virtually every life insurance company.

Though these are the most common, many others may be included as well, so be sure to understand all exclusions before purchasing your policy.

Four Typical Life Insurance Exclusions

  • Suicide exclusion. This type of exclusion prevents the policy from being paid out in the event of the policy holder’s suicide. This exclusion only exists for the first two years of the policy. It is meant to prevent someone from taking out a life insurance policy when intending to commit suicide. If a questionable death occurs within the first two years and suicide is suspected, it is the life insurance company’s responsibility to prove suicide as the cause of death.
  • Aviation exclusion. This excludes the policy from being paid out if the policy holder dies on a private plane whether piloting or as a passenger. This may seem like an odd exclusion but, because private plan regulation is monitored a lot less than commercial airlines, insurance companies are very cautious when it comes to private planes and circumstances surrounding crashes.
  • Dangerous activity exclusion is another typical type of exclusion. This exclusion stops the payout to the beneficiary if the policy holder dies while engaged in a dangerous activity. Dangerous activities vary from company to company but the most common are bungee jumping, rock climbing, hang gliding, scuba diving, and racing. Some sports are also included on the dangerous activity list such as rugby and lacrosse. Be sure to let your insurance company know, if you participate in a dangerous activity, so you can find out if you will be covered.
  • War exclusion. This prevents the insurance company from paying out if the policy holder dies because of an act of war. This includes both death in a foreign country or death on home soil as the result of war. Obviously, this is a very important exclusion to consider if the policy holder is a solider, military contracted worker, or will be in a war zone for other reasons.

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What options are there to get around these life insurance exclusions?

For all of these exclusions, except the suicide exclusion, there are other ways to get coverage.

  • For aviation, dangerous activities and acts of war, there are insurance companies that specialize solely in these types of coverage.
  • For acts of war, the US military typically offers a special type of life insurance to its members.

It is important to note that should you choose to get a specialized policy, your monthly premium rates will be much higher so you need to weigh the risks versus the benefits.

Most insurance companies will also allow you to add a rider to a traditional plan. A rider is a special circumstance that overrides an exclusion. As with specialized insurance policies, riders cause premium rates to rise. However, it is important to add the riders that apply to your life, so you are covered no matter what the circumstances are. Ask the insurance company you are working with what riders they accept and which ones they do not accept.

To find a life insurance company that covers everything that needs to be covered in your life including typical exclusions, you should compare what different life insurance companies have to offer. By doing this, you can be assured that you are getting the best deal for your money.

Shopping around is a proven way to save money on life insurance. Try using the free life insurance comparison tool to compare rates and quotes from several top companies.

It’s simple: enter your zip code and get several life insurance quotes now!