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Insurance is null and void if suicide is committed within a year

Death claims are not payable under certain circumstances in case of life insurance.

Apnainsurance Research Bureau

21 Dec 2007

Although life insurance policies are taken in order to ensure that the nominee receives the sum assured (and other benefits, such as riders, bonuses etc.) on the death of the insured, there are quite a number of typical circumstances in which death claims are not payable. Some of these are:

  • If the insured, whether sane or insane, commits suicide within 12 months from the date of issue of the policy or the date of any reinstatement of the policy.
Let's assume that an individual's policy had lapsed due to premium non-payment. He makes up the payment backlog to bring the policy back in force. Two months later, he commits suicide. The insurer will not be liable to pay the death claim to the nominee.

  • If the insured has misrepresented facts, usually pertaining to health conditions, at the time of entering the insurance contract.

However, an incontestable period (usually two years after the policy has been in force) is imposed. That is, once the policy has been in force for this period, the insurance company cannot nullify or void a policy on the basis that the policy holder had made any misrepresentation or omission, usually pertaining to health conditions, at the time of entering into the insurance contract. The incontestable period clause does not affect the rights of the company in case there is any fraud involved. The onus of proving fraud lies on the insurance company. In such cases, the only one to lose out would be the nominee/family of the insured who would be dragged through unnecessary complications at a time when they need all the calm and peace they can get.

  • A misstatement of age clause is inserted by the company to protect itself against the insured wrongly stating her/his age. This doesn't void the policy, however. It still remains valid. In the event of the insured's death during the term of the policy, the death benefit is adjusted as per the actual age of the insured.