calm young asian woman holding axe in hands in woods

The above question, will life insurance cover suicide? constitutes a reoccurring decimal in the mind of Policyholders. And even for insurance companies.

Generally, life insurance will not cover suicide. However, there are exceptions to this general rule and which we are going to discuss under here. But let’s look at the meaning of suicide.

Suicide is the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily or intentionally. It equally describes thoughts and range of behavior by individuals who considers suicide.

Similarly, suicide involves plan on how to kill oneself and modes of carrying out the plans.


As a general rule, individual life insurance does not cover suicide automatically. However, circumstances exist that will make life insurance cover suicide and they include:

  1. Term life insurance
  2. Suicide clause
  3. Contestability clause

Term life insurance

Term life insurance policy is a class of insurance cover that covers you for a specific number of years.

Consequently, you will be entitled to death benefits accruable to your policy only when you die within specific time. For example, if your policy is for five years, your beneficiaries will claim benefits if you die within five years.

Here, insurance companies charge premiums considering the life expectancy of the policyholder. And most times, a medical check to ascertain medical history and health of the policyholder is done. The reason is to arrest situations of fraudulent dealings of prospective policyholders. That is, where persons with low life expectancy subscribes for a life policy only to die a few moments after. And his beneficiaries thereafter claim huge benefits from insurance companies.

Similarly, the premium is usually certain. And if the policyholder dies during the lifetime of the policy, the beneficiaries will make claims. But if he dies after the expiration of the term of the policy, no claim will be paid.

Suicide clause in whether life insurance will cover suicide

To forestall fraud, life insurance companies usually include suicide clause in their insurance policies. The implication is that if policyholder commits suicide within the time in the clause, his beneficiaries will not make claims. This is to prevent people from benefiting for taking their own lives. But if the policyholder commits suicide after the exclusion period in the suicide clause, his beneficiaries can receive claims. Therefore, if he dies during the subsistence of the term in the clause. And the insurance companies is able to establish that it’s suicide, his policy will be void. And consequently lead to the cancellation of the benefits in his policy.

Contestability Clause

This is a clause in an insurance policy. This clause stipulates the period when the insurance company can contest the claims of the beneficiaries of a policyholder. And the essence is also to prevent frauds.

The contestability period starts from the date of the policy and lasts till the end of the contestability period.

The insurance company questions the circumstances of death of the policyholder and claims of his beneficiaries. And in doing this, the Insurer can demand for verification of the cause of death and can even undertake autopsy.

This clause entitles the insurance company to void claims of the beneficiaries made before the expiration of the contestability period.

For the fact that some policyholders present false information at the point of subscribing for life insurance policy, the contestability clause, empowers the insurance company to investigate the life history of the policyholder to find out if false information existed at the time of buying the policy.

For instance, if you are a drug addict and unfortunately, you present false information at the point to filling insurance forms. And after buying the policy, you die within the contestability period. The Insurers reserves the right to investigate into your past life to find out if there was false information. And in the event you are liable for providing false information, the insurance company will reserve the right to deny the benefits accruable to your beneficiaries.


The contestability period is of very high significance for insurance companies. Insurers often come across where prospective policyholders provide false information about themselves. And which eventually influence them into entering into such insurance contracts.

One of the reasons that influence these policyholders to lie is the fact that health, age and medical history of prospective policyholder determines premium chargeable in life insurance policies, And knowing that insurers will reduce the premium payable if you have clean medical history and young age, you are most time moved to misrepresent information.

Other areas where a prospective policyholder present false information to avoid risk of high premium are issues relating to risky jobs, health and lifestyle

Addictions to drugs and alcohol intake all tend to lower the health and life expectancy of a policyholder. And these mostly lead customers of insurance companies to provide false information to insurers so as to reduce rate of premium payable by them.

As earlier said, the essence of the contestability clause is mainly to protect the insurance companies who are always victims of these misrepresentations by their customers, And also to avoid fraudulent claims by their beneficiaries.

How to determine cause of suicide by insurance companies:

If a life insurance policyholder dies, the beneficiaries normally file claim, the insurers will usually request the death certificate which usually states the cause of death of such person. And will state if the person’s death is of suicide Autopsy is mostly conducted to unravel the cause of death.

Conclusion ( will life insurance cover suicide)       

From the above, it is safe o conclude that life insurance does not cover suicide especially and except in the circumstances discussed above.

If a policy holder dies within the period in the suicide clause or in the contestability clause or dies during the life span of a term life insurance as a result of suicide. The beneficiaries will not get any claim as it is fraudulent to do so.

We have equally stated that in contesting a claim, the insurance company usually verifies the authenticity of the information provided by the customer at the point of buying the policy. And these includes information with respect to medical history, lifestyle and other details deemed necessary by the insurance company. If at the end of the verification exercise, the company discovers any case of provision of false information by the policy holder, it will proceed to cancel the claim of the beneficiaries of the policy holder.

However, if the insurance company discovers that series of information provided by the policy holder are true, it will approve the claims and pay the beneficiaries of the policyholder thereto .i.e., the beneficiaries of the policy will receive the complete coverage sum in the policy.


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