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Life Insurance After a Suicide Attempt

Researcher & Writer
August 17, 2017

If you attempted suicide, or you entertained suicidal thoughts and shared your thoughts with a physician, know that we can still help you find the best life insurance companies offering the best life insurance rates after attempted suicide. The key is knowing where to look. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

Now not every suicide attempt is caused by depression but in the majority of cases it is at least one factor that leads to someone attempting suicide. Depression is a serious illness that sometimes results in a person taking his or her own life.

In fact roughly 34,000 Americans commit suicide annually. When you compare that to the more than 40,000 women who will die of breast cancer each year, it becomes crystal clear that suicide is a serious killer.

So what exactly is suicide?

The definition of suicide is to intentionally kill yourself. If you die by accidental death, no matter how negligent you may be, it is not intentional, and therefore, it is not suicide by definition.

So then, as a life insurance policy holder or policy seeker, what does the risk and reality of suicide actually mean in relation to your policy or policy eligibility?

Does Life Insurance Pay for Suicide Death?

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The short answer is yes, life insurance pays for death by suicide if after the two year suicide exclusion period, the exceptions appear to be Colorado and Missouri which may have a one year suicide exclusion timeline.

Life insurance companies each have their own rules and clauses, and these may even differ from policy to policy under the same insurance company. Generally, suicide is caused or linked to depression. It is important to remember that depression is a mood disorder, and suicide is a result of this disorder.

When considered like this, it may not surprise you that many insurance companies will in fact honor a policy held by a person who commits suicide, i.e. the life insurance company will pay out the death benefit to the policy holder’s beneficiaries if the primary insured commits suicide. However, pay out is subject to certain exclusions.

Some insurance companies may have special stipulations. For example, if a person had been diagnosed with depression prior to buying life insurance, the company may have charged a premium for death in the event of suicide. If the policy holder took this, they will be covered. If not, the policy will not be valid.

It is also common for a life insurance policy to have a clause stating that it will not honor a policy in the event of suicide within the first year or two of holding the policy. If suicide occurs after the stated time period, the life insurance will then render the policy valid. This is a very common practice among life insurance companies.

Even if your life insurance company has not asked you any questions pertaining to suicide and/or depression, this two-year suicide exclusion clause may be listed in the fine print.

It is important to remember that whenever you buy one of the different types of life insurance policies, you read all of the fine print so that you know exactly what you are getting into, and what possible factors may make your life insurance policy null and void.

2 Year Contestability Period

It is important to recognize that the suicide exclusion is different than the two year contestability period.

The contestability period allows the insurer to deny a claim if the insured lied on the life insurance application or withheld material information.

Can I get life insurance after attempting suicide?

Whenever you apply for a life insurance policy, it is the company’s job to investigate and analyze the risk factors, and then determine whether or not to issue a policy, and what amount to charge based on the assumed risk.

Your history of suicide attempt(s) may be considered high risk life insurance, but it does not necessarily disqualify you from getting coverage. It may result in a higher premium, but chances are you will still be able to find some coverage through at least a few different life insurance companies.

Prior to offering you coverage, the life insurance company is likely to consider:

  • How long ago the suicide attempt happened
  • Whether or not any external factors contributed to the suicide attempt (i.e. certain medications such as that for malaria have been proven to increase suicidal tendencies)
  • Whether or not you have since sought out professional help
  • If there is a history of suicide in your family

Once the insurance company assesses the risk, it will determine whether it will offer you a policy or not, and if there will be an additional premium assessed to you.

Note that not all life insurance companies will not come to the same conclusion. One life insurance company may reject you while another gives you coverage without an increased premium; it’s completely up to the company, and each of them will handle the issue of suicide and depression differently.

Do Life Insurance Policies Cover Suicide?

Life insurance policies come with a two-year suicide exclusion. If the insured commits suicide in the first two years the policy will not pay out the death benefit. If the insured commits suicide after the two year period, the life insurance policy will cover suicide, along with any other cause of death.

What About Other Factors That Increase Suicidal Tendencies?

There are other illnesses that may lead to suicide, apart from clinical depression. For example, those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses may be at higher risk for committing suicide or engaging in behavior that may be dangerous to the self. Life insurance companies will take all of this into consideration, along with your risk of committing suicide, before offering you coverage.

If you have a mental illness and attempted suicide, you might need to consider buying final expense or burial insurance from the top final expense or burial insurance companies.

Before you buy a life insurance policy, the best thing to do is shop around. There are many different life insurance companies in the market, all of them offering various policies. The restrictions and clauses for various life factors such as clinical depression and suicidal tendencies will be different from one life insurance company to the next.

Only by comparing multiple life insurance companies will you find the right company and policy for you and your needs, and hopefully get the best coverage for your personal situation.

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