Does Life Insurance Pay For Suicidal Death?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

It’s a question that many people ask when they are considering getting life insurance: does life insurance pay for suicidal death? The answer is complicated. In this guide, we will discuss the different factors that go into determining whether or not life insurance pays out in the event of a suicide. We will also look at some case studies to help illustrate how this works in practice. So, if you’re curious about how life insurance handles suicides, keep reading.

Contestability Period

One of the main things that insurance companies look at to see if they will pay out a life insurance policy is the contestability period. This is a time frame, usually two years, where the company can investigate the death and see if it was suicide. If it is ruled that it was suicide, then the company might not pay out anything. If it was an accident, then they would usually payout.

Exclusion Clause

Another thing you need to think about when getting life insurance is the suicide exclusion clause. This clause means that if the policyholder dies by suicide within a certain time frame, usually two years, the death benefit will not be paid out. However, after that time frame has passed, the suicide exclusion clause is no longer in effect and the death benefit will be paid out if the policyholder dies by suicide.


So, does life insurance pay for a death that is ruled to be a suicide? It depends on a number of factors, including the policy’s contestability period and suicide exclusion clause. In most cases, if the policyholder’s death is ruled to be accidental, the insurer will pay out the death benefit. However, if the policyholder’s death is ruled to be a suicide, the insurer may refuse to pay out the death benefit.

If you’re considering getting life insurance, it’s important to understand how your policy would handle suicide. If you have any questions about your policy, be sure to ask your insurer. And if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please get help from a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-82554).

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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