Does Life Insurance Cover Suicide?

Find out if life insurance covers suicide, some important notes, and how we're different.

Does life insurance cover suicide?

Suicide may not be something you think about on a regular basis, but in a study done by Samaritans in 2018, 6,507 people committed suicide in the UK that year.

Death is one of the most difficult situations for anyone. However, if it involved suicide, the situation can become even more confusing, raw or painful. 😟

So, wondering does life insurance cover suicide? Keep reading to find out more.

Many policies have a suicide clause that limits the payment of benefits.

Most life insurance policies will cover suicide within certain conditions and the family will get the financial relief that they need. These conditions are known as a suicide clause, this prohibits a payout if the suicide is committed within a certain time period after purchasing the policy. It’s not always black and white though, so it’s important you have the right information. 👍

Life insurance suicidal death clause explained

What is a suicide clause and what does it do?

Most suicide clauses state that there will be no policy payout for suicidal death if the policy is less than a set period of time. The life insurance claims are dependent on the specific list from the specific insurer.

The clause was initially meant to be in place so the policyholder would not tragically take their own life, wanting their loved ones and families (https://bequest.com/articles/life-insurance/life-insurance-for-families/ to receive their lump sum payout. This financial incentive is very rare and pretty old school.

At Bequest, we do not have a suicide clause in our policies. This is not an easy subject and we don't think that mental health in regards to life insurance is where it could be. There is so much to learn and lots of ways to improve our coverage for the future, but this is a first step. 🚀

What is the time period set out on a suicide clause?

The time period depends on the life insurance company, however, it is normally for 12 months, and for some others it's up to 24 months. For most insurers, the life insurance claim will only payout if the policyholder has taken their own life and the suicide clause is passed the 1 year mark.

Will a policy pay out for suicide once the time period on a suicide clause has expired?

Yes! Each insurance company has different rules as mentioned, but if someone takes their own life, the life insurance policy will pay out after the set time period laid out in the suicide clause.

Which life insurance providers pay out for suicidal death in the UK?

If a policyholder commits suicide, the life insurance claim will be paid out, as long as it is outside of the clause conditions.

Most of the big names pay out for suicidal death in the UK. These include: Vitality, Zurich, Royal London, Legal & General, Aviva and AIG.

How does a mental health condition affect life insurance?

Sometimes, mental health may affect your claim, however, you should be open about it. The temptation may be to leave out some information when filling out a policy, either because of embarrassment or thinking it’ll get you a cheaper premium. In reality, not disclosing facts can void your insurance altogether.

Depression is seen as a pre-existing condition in the same way as any pre-existing physical illness. So, when filling out your form, your level of risk will be assessed, as well as your medical history, age, and history with mental health. The underwriter may also request details from your GP. While this may increase the cost of your premiums, your insurance could be voided at any point if there are discrepancies, so it’s best to be open and honest. 💛

Can I get life insurance if I have suffered with anxiety, stress or depression (or had suicidal thoughts)?

In most cases, mild mental health issues are not enough of a reason to be declined life insurance. While mental health as a whole is pretty misunderstood, there are many companies that will still cover you if there are health challenges included, mental or physical.

However, in some cases, the life insurance premiums may be higher or you may be declined. You may also have a tricky time being accepted for critical illness cover as well.

What questions will I be asked about my mental health?

Mental health issues are not always black and white, but with many insurance companies, they will definitely ask you questions in regards to your mental health if you are looking for a life insurance policy.

Some of these questions may include:

  • mental health conditions
  • severity of the conditions
  • the date you were diagnosed
  • details of medication you take
  • confirmation of hospitals or doctors you have seen

Is it possible to get life insurance if I’ve attempted suicide or harmed myself?

This is really dependent on the insurer you have chosen to get your life insurance policy with. It is something that you may want to check with your insurance company before purchasing your life insurance. Pay outs are determined by your acceptance and by honesty. 💛

To overgeneralise but simplify it, before acceptance, most insurers look to see if you've been what they consider stable for at least 6 months and when you last had self harm or suicidal thoughts.

Does life insurance cover 'death with dignity'?

This is another instance where each insurer is different. Each country, state, province or county have different rules. In the UK, as long as the death passes contestability and the suicide clause has expired your policy will be covered.

Getting help if you have had suicidal thoughts

You may be reading this article just as a loved one has passed away, or possibly because you have had self harm thoughts yourself. If you’re struggling, there is help.

💷 Financial stress: there are numerous ways you can get financial assistance. It’s important to know that there is help.

💔 Emotional stress: there are plenty of ways to get emotional guidance, emergency care or even long-term help. Samaritans is a wonderful resource if you need a place to start.

Samaritans – Number: 116 123 E-mail: jo@samaritans.org

Final thoughts about life insurance and suicide

For an existing life policy, life insurance will always payout for suicidal death, so long as the information given during the application was accurate and it is past the suicide clause period. Hopefully, this information has been helpful if you or someone you know has questions regarding life insurance and suicide.

If you have more questions about life insurance, Bequest is here for you. Mental health discrimination is not ok. We are busting insurance doors down to be what our generation needs. Ask us! alexa@bequest.com

Frequently asked questions

Does life insurance cover a drug overdose?

This depends on the insurer as well as if they drug overdose was accidental or not.

Does life insurance cover you for depression?

This depends on the severity of the depression and which insurer you are taking an insurance policy out with. Most would cover depression, even if it had higher premiums because of it.

Why can you only claim for suicidal death after 12 months?

The reason most insurers tell you that you can only claim for a suicidal death after 12 months is that they don't want people to look for a financial incentive to purchase a life insurance policy and then take their own life shortly after.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected life insurance and suicide?

As many of you know, this last year and a half has been very difficult for many people. Emotionally, financially and mentally. Unfortunately, this has increased the amount of people struggling with mental health and in turn, suicide.

If you need someone to talk to: Samaritans – Number: 116 123 E-mail: jo@samaritans.org

Suicide rates in the UK

There is an average of around 6,000 deaths by suicide each year in the uk.

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FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. "Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

0203 916 5433

FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. "Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

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