Does Life Insurance Cover Suicide? Understand Your Policy Terms

It is a piece of tragic news for a family to know that their loved one died of suicide. There are thousands of cases reported in the united states of suicide every year. But it is hard for each family to go through the pain of knowing that a family took his own life. In this situation, the question of whether life insurance covers suicide and whether will it still pay death benefits remains a relevant one. 

Life insurance companies ensure that the family of the deceased receives financial protection when the head of the house leaves them for whatever cause. They provide coverage for almost every cause of death, including suicide. But certain criteria must be met. If a policyholder dies of suicide, the beneficiary can claim death benefits and he will receive them with some exceptions. Some companies apply a suicide clause on their policy which state that the beneficiary will not receive death benefits if the policyholder dies in the first two years of the policy. 

Does Life Insurance Cover Suicide

Life insurance companies ensure that the family of the policyholder does not have to go through hard times if their breadwinner passes away. They incorporate many causes of death in their life insurance coverage. In the case of suicide, the answer is yes life insurance covers suicide with a two-year waiting period. It means that insurance companies usually don’t cover death by suicide in the first two years of the policy but if the insured died after two years of the policy, the beneficiaries will get the death benefit.

If the insured takes his life in the first two years of the policy, he may not receive death benefits but he can get a refund of the premiums paid into the policy before the death. There is generally an exclusion of doctor-assisted suicide. But these five states allow assisted suicide:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • California
  • Vermont
  • Oregon

The beneficiary of the insured should know the name of the insurer to file the claim for death benefits. For making a claim, the beneficiary has to access the insurance company that the deceased purchased the policy from and a certified copy of the death certificate for claiming the company.

Suicidal Death Clause

Insurance companies take care of their customers and want them a safe and healthy life. They want to prevent them from taking their own life and does not want them to have an incentive for that. Therefore, many life insurance companies attach a suicide clause to their policy. Also referred to as a suicide provision, it states that the life insurance policies usually have two years waiting period in providing death benefits in case the insured dies of suicide. The policyholder cannot receive a death benefit if he dies by suicide within two years of the policy’s beginning. This period is the exclusion period, and the beneficiary can take the death benefits when the exclusion period ends. 

The suicide clause changes with the change to a policy such for if the insured wants to add coverage or convert a term policy into a whole coverage, the exclusion period will restart. 

Suicide Provisions for Different IInsurance Coverages

All life insurance policies have a different take on suicide clause and different types of coverage extend different suicide provisions:

Term Life Insurance

Your term life insurance policy will be in effect for a certain period (the “term”), with a suicide clause normally in effect for the first two years. Instead of obtaining the entire death benefit of the insurance if you commit suicide during the first two years, your beneficiary will instead get a refund of all the premiums you paid. 

Whole Life Insurance

Similar to term life insurance, whole life insurance addresses suicide. If you commit suicide during the first two years, a clause will be in the policy to protect the insurance provider. With whole life insurance, however, your beneficiary will also be given any cash value that has accrued in addition to obtaining a return for the premiums you paid. 

Group Life Insurance

Many group life plans, the sort of life insurance that people frequently obtain via their employer, do not include a suicide clause, in contrast to the majority of individual life insurance policies. Usually, beneficiaries will get the death benefit if a covered individual commits suicide.

Military Insurance

Veterans Affairs offers life insurance to qualifying service members and veterans, and this life insurance does not exclude suicide. There are no limitations that will prohibit your beneficiary from obtaining the entire death benefit in the case of your suicide at any moment.

How Will an Insurance Company Know about Suicide

The cause of death listed on a death certificate for an insured individual is often accepted by life insurance companies. But if the covered individual passes away while the claim is still contestable, it’s conceivable that the insurer will dispute the payout so they can look into the death’s exact cause in more detail. 

It is the insurance company’s responsibility to demonstrate that the insured individual committed suicide and/or lied on the application in certain situations. It’s crucial to be truthful and open on your life insurance application so that, if you die away while covered, your beneficiary may quickly and painlessly claim the death benefit.

Life Insurance and Mental Health

There are many reasons why someone could commit suicide; but, as the Samaritans have noted, mental health problems, alcoholism, and drug abuse can all be contributing factors. You must reveal any mental health issues you may have, the severity of your symptoms, the names and dosages of any medications you take, the date of your diagnosis, and documentation of any hospital hospitalizations or specialist referrals when you apply for life insurance.

We can grant coverage at our usual rates for the majority of applications when anxiety, depression, or stress is regarded as minor. Your mental health condition’s severity may affect the rates we charge you or whether we agree to provide coverage.

Life Insurance Incontestability Clause

Another provision in life insurance contracts called the contestability period enables the insurer to refuse or lower the death benefit given to the beneficiaries of the policy. The contestability period, which lasts for the first one to two years of your policy, enables the insurance provider to look for signs of fraud in any fatalities that occur during that time. 

If it is determined that you made false statements on your application for insurance, the firm may reject your claim or reduce the amount it would pay you. The suicide death exclusion is distinct from contestability, but the two-time frames sometimes overlap. The contestability period and the suicide exclusion typically continue for two years, but if your insurance expires and needs to be reactivated for nonpayment, the clock starts over.


In conclusion, the relationship between suicide and life insurance is complicated. The response may differ depending on the business and policy. On the question of whether life insurance cover suicide, Life insurance companies typically do not cover suicide, although they could if the suicide results in an accident. It is crucial to carefully study your policy’s tiny print to understand the coverage and whether or not suicide is covered. To make sure you get the coverage that best suits your needs, it’s also crucial to talk over your alternatives with a licensed insurance agent or financial adviser to ensure that their life insurance covers suicide.