Life insurance exists to help those who’ve lost a loved one. Family members of the deceased are protected by their life insurance plans after they pass away, as they provide financial relief and compensation when the surviving loved ones need it most. But even life insurance policies that are thoroughly drafted, with contracts signed, can take awhile to pay out.
Insurance companies seem to always find a way to delay paying out claims, or deny claims altogether. The reasons below are some of the most commonly occurring reasons we see at McKennon Law Group. If you or a loved one are being denied a life insurance policy claim, or your claim is being delayed, contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Reason 1: Drugs or alcohol were involved in the death
Unfortunately, many life insurance companies will disqualify deaths that occurred under certain circumstances. Death due to drug or alcohol abuse are often included as some of these circumstances. This manner of death is referred to as “self-inflicted,” and typically refers to any death that occurs when the deceased happened to be under the influence of these substances– even if their cause of death wasn’t directly due to the consumption.
If your life insurance policy claim is being delayed or denied due to a drug- or alcohol-related death, contact McKennon Law Group for help.
Reason 2: The deceased died via homicide
There are some exceptions, but many life insurance policies don’t cover homicide. These cases are especially complex. If a beneficiary is suspected of homicide, and it’s believed that they intentionally killed the deceased, they won’t have a chance at receiving the benefits until the investigation ends. Similarly, if a beneficiary engaged in any other criminal or unlawful activity, especially one that’s believed to have contributed to the death of the deceased, the claim will be held up until the investigation is resolved or the beneficiary is no longer under investigation.
Reason 3: Death by suicide
Life insurers have the right to delay or deny a claim if the death occurred by suicide. There are clauses in most insurance policy contracts that aim to discourage those contemplating death from buying a life insurance policy. Sometimes, insurance companies will flag this as a type of life insurance policy fraud. It’s important to note, however, that not all life insurance policies exclude suicide as a rule, so be sure to check the fine details.
In situations like these, it’s wise to seek the help of an attorney who can contact the deceased’s insurance company, find out valuable and detailed information from the contact, and fight for your right to life insurance policy money.
Reason 4: The deceased passed away during the contestability period
If an individual passes away within the first two years of their insurance policy being active, the insurer can contest the policy if they so choose. When someone applies for life insurance, the application will require certain information. This information might include their income, health, criminal history, age, body mass index, and more. Insurer’s have the right to contest the applicant’s information in order to make sure it’s accurate.
During this window, which is referred to as “the contestability period,” the insurance company may discover that the information was not entirely accurate, or there might be important information that was excluded from the original life insurance policy application. The insurer has the right to deny coverage if this occurs. For example, if an individual fails to disclose that they’ve been arrested before, or doesn’t disclose that they smoke cigarettes, the insurer can back out of coverage.
Similarly, an insurance company can deny paying out a life insurance claim if it’s been discovered that information in the application or life insurance policy was inaccurate, misrepresented or untruthful. Even if the death in question did not occur as a direct result of the misrepresentation, for example, if someone failed to say they smoke cigarettes, but died due to a car accident.
Reason 5: The insured failed to pay their insurance policy premium
This is one of the most commonly occurring reasons that an insurance company might delay in giving a claim or deny it altogether. Life insurance policies are only active for as long as the insured completes payments on time. When the insured fails to pay their premium, the insurance can lapse or be canceled altogether.
This type of denial and delay are quite common. If you or a loved one has an insurance policy, always be certain that payments are being made on time and the full amount of the premium requested is paid by any associated deadline. It’s important to note as well that beneficiaries have the right to know whether or not insurance companies sent late payment notices to the policyholder, and whether or not the situation was rectified.