There are a variety of Life insurance topics that many shoppers might not be aware of. The 2 Year Life Insurance Contestability Period is probably one of them.
What is a life insurance contestability period?
The life insurance contestability period is the amount of time in your life insurance policy’s contract that allows the life insurance company to contest the death benefit payment.
What does that really mean?
In technical terms, it means that the life insurance company is trying to void the policy by showing that the insured misrepresented themselves. This misrepresentation could be that the insured provided incorrect information or didn’t provide the correct information that led to a life insurance policy or contract that a company would not have offered if this information was know.
In short, the life insurance contestability period is a way that companies protect themselves against fraud and misrepresentation. The length of the contestibility period is determined by each state. The most common length is the 2 year life insurance contestability period.
What happens if you die during the 2 year life insurance contestability period?
If you were to die during the 2 year contestability period, the life insurance company may take their time to research the cause of death. They want to make sure that there are no situations that a contract rescission can occur. If there is a death claim denial or a reduction in benefit payout may occur.
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What you need to know about your life insurance contestability period
Here are some of the most important details you should know about your life insurance contestability period.
Potential delayed death benefit
If you happen to die during the contestability period, the life insurance company may delay payment of the death benefit. The life insurance company may choose to investigate the cause of death to see if there was possible misrepresentation of the contract. Life insurance carriers wont’ research and investigate every death claim during the 2 year life insurance contestability period. For example, if the insured were to pass away from an accident. However if the insured passed away from lung cancer and they were approved and issued a “Non Tobacco” policy – the company may investigate.
Companies have the right to investigate during contestability period
The life insurance companies have the right to investigate and review death claims that are filed during the 2 year contestability period. However, that doesn’t equate to them not paying out a death claim. They have the right to look into the cause of death and if it conflicts with the life insurance policy that was applied for and approved. If the insured lied about having terminal cancer when they applied, the life insurance company would have the right to deny the death claim because the policy was approved due to misrepresentation.
Most people have heard about suicide and life insurance death claims. However, there is still some confusion if a death benefit will pay out when suicide is the cause of death. There are suicide clauses in life insurance contracts, but they are not the same thing as a life insurance contestability period. A suicide clause provides the life insurance company protection and they are able to decline a death claim (as well as refund all premiums if it’s within the 1st 24 months). Once the 2 year mark has passed, the life insurance company will pay out a death benefit when suicide is the cause of death.
Don’t lie when you apply
Thinking about telling a little white lie when you apply?
Are you wondering, “Why can’t I lie on my life insurance application?” When you apply and purposely provide incorrect information, you’re putting yourself at risk. Even more importantly, your loved ones are at risk because you’ve already passed away and they’re now left potentially with nothing.
Decreasing death benefit
Giving false information is intentional. What happens if you provide the wrong details or forget something unintentionally? Your case may still be investigated and if the life insurance carrier finds that you’ve misrepresented- they may deny your claim. However, there are also cases that they lower the benefit amount based on the new information found.
For example, you were approved at “Preferred” rates but had a health risk that would have caused an approval at “Standard”. With the new evidence present, your premium should have been higher with a “Standard” rating and the death benefit could be reduced to reflect that. This decision is based on the company and will be determined by factors such as how significant the misrepresentation is as well as the benefit amount.
Fraud is a punishable offense
If the life insurance company finds that fraud happened either from the policy owner or the insured during the contestability period – the company has the right to deny a death claim. The life insurance premiums will be returned, but no death benefit will be paid.
The process of voiding a life insurance contract is called recission. The life insurance company can try and rescind the policy contract when they find out that a misrepresentation has occurred that would have stopped the company from even offering a contract.
It pays to be honest
The bottom line is to be honest and truthful throughout the life insurance process.
Start by contacting an independent life insurance broker like Life Insurance Blog. They will work with you to find you the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for. Be honest and truthful about your health and lifestyle so they can find the companies that will offer the you the best price based on your specific details.
Remember, life insurance companies are billion dollar businesses. They know what they’re doing with regards to underwriting, qualifying, and paying out claims. They know that most people are honest, but that some shoppers may not be. The 2 year life insurance contestability clause is simply a way to protect life insurance companies from evidence of misrepresentation.
To find the right coverage amount and compare rates, use Life Insurance Blog’s comparison calculator.