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No, I am not thinking about suicide, but I was wondering this as a curiosity question. If a person dies by an accident, they are covered by life insurance and their beneficiaries receive some amount of money. But if a person ends their life by suicide, are they covered by life insurance? Do their beneficiaries receive any amount of money?


If you've found this question because you're thinking about suicide, please know your life is worth more than insurance money. Please consider talking to someone, either in the United States or internationally.

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In the United States, yes it will generally cover suicide. However there is usually a "suicide clause":

Usually, this clause states that no death benefit will be paid if the insured commits suicide within two years of taking out a policy.

Whenever an insured person replaces an existing life insurance policy with a new one, the time clock for the suicide clause is set back to zero and starts over again.

It also depends on the policy, state, etc.

  • So no benefit is paid if suicide happens within 2 years of taking out the policy, but is the inverse true? Must a payout happen if suicide occurs over 2 years after the policy? – Thunderforge Apr 16 '17 at 20:09
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    It depends on your exact policy. When you buy life insurance, your insurance broker will tell you all the details. – Michael Apr 16 '17 at 20:12
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    Exactly. And there are times that a company will reject a benefit that's too high. I had no problem getting a $1M policy, but if I tried to get a $5M policy, I might arouse suspicion, especially since I'm retired. Suicide is awful, but usually done on impulse, not planned over 2 years in advance. – JoeTaxpayer Apr 16 '17 at 20:17
  • It would be kind of awkward to ask my broker how my policy covers death by suicide, but I suppose I'll look for it in the fine print out of morbid curiosity. – Thunderforge Apr 17 '17 at 1:59
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    Probably worth mentioning that if you commit suicide just to get the insurance money then that will always invalidate the claim. (If they can show it). – DJClayworth May 4 at 16:34
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Suicide is one thing. And you are correct, it is two years. There are 6 other scenarios where life insurance does not pay out. https://www.truebluelifeinsurance.com/7-ways-life-insurance-will-not-pay-out/. These are important too.

  1. Incontestability period. If you omitted or lied on the application, there is an incontestability clause where the insurance company can contest the payout if there is a claim in the first 2 years of the policy.
  2. Exclusions. The policy may have exclusions in the contract where if the cause of death is from a dangerous activity, the policy does not pay out.
  3. Illegal activities. If you die while committing a crime or participating in an illegal activity, the life insurance company can refuse to make a payment. For example, if you are killed while stealing a car, your beneficiary won’t be paid.
  4. Act of war. This denies claims for civilians who are killed in wars or by acts of war, such as journalists whose job takes them into the midst of battle on a regular basis, or people who travel to regions of the world where there’s armed conflict.
  5. Moving out of the country. Let’s say you take out a life insurance policy while you’re living in the United States, and then you move to another country. There could be a clause in the policy that excludes the payment of a death benefit if you are not living in the U.S. at the time of your death.
  6. Fraud. If the company finds that you had certain health conditions or that you were involved in dangerous activities all the way back to the time you applied for coverage and you didn’t mention them, it can deny payment on the claim.

Disclosure - I am the CEO of the insurance firm cited in the link provided.

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