Does life insurance pay out for suicidal death?

10 min Read Published: 07 Apr 2022

Does life insurance pay out for suicidal death?It is often mistakenly assumed that a life insurance policy would not pay out for suicide, but that simply isn't the case. Most leading life insurance providers in the UK will payout for suicide, however a suicidal death clause is likely to apply. In this article we reveal which insurers pay out for suicidal death and whether they apply a suicidal death clause.

Life insurance suicidal death clause explained

Most life insurance providers in the UK will pay out in the event of suicide, however be aware that most policies will have a 'suicide clause'. The suicide clause sets out where you wouldn't be covered and each insurance company has its own clause.

What is a suicide clause and what does it do?

A suicide clause will typically set out the time period at the start of a policy in which if suicide takes place, a death claim will not be paid.

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

Most suicide clauses set out a time period of between 12 and 24 months in which if suicide takes place, a payout will not be paid. The time period will vary from insurer to insurer.

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

Yes. Once the time period on a suicide clause has been met, any claim arising from suicide should be paid. A word of caution however, an insurance company may request additional medical evidence in the event of a claim and this can include doctor and hospital reports.

The most common reason for a declined life insurance claim is 'non disclosure' regardless of what suicide provision there is within the policy. So make sure that you are completely honest when you complete your application forms and don't leave anything to chance.

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

In the table below we have summarised how 10 of the top life insurance companies in the UK treat suicide:

Insurer Covered for Suicide?
Suicide not covered within the first:
Aegon Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
AIG Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Aviva Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Beagle Street Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Legal & General Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
LV= Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Royal London Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Scottish Widows Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Vitality Yes
12 months of taking the policy out
Zurich Yes
12 months of taking the policy out

Applying for life insurance if you have had depression and/or suicidal thoughts

When you complete a life insurance application you will be faced with a number of health and lifestyle questions and so you need to be as honest as you can when completing the forms.

The questions will ask about your past and current health information but in some cases, this is timebound so they only wish to know about some medical information if you had symptoms or saw a doctor in the last 5 years, for example. Pre-existing health conditions that you have recovered from and occurred in the distant past may not be relevant but you should answer the question accurately and honestly as it is asked.

One of the key questions on a life insurance application relates to whether you have suffered any anxiety, depression or stress and whether you have had any suicidal tendencies.

Even if you have suffered with mental health issues in the past it does not automatically mean that you will be declined for life insurance cover. Most insurance companies will ask for a little more information, perhaps asking you to complete a mental health questionnaire and it is likely that they will write to your doctor.

If you are unable, for any reason, to relay information to the insurance company about your mental health, it is always best to tell the insurance company - misinformation or omissions could lead to a declined claim.

Life insurance - Additional mental health questions

If you have suffered with your mental health in the past then you may be asked some additional questions when applying for life insurance.

Additional questions relating to mental health could include:

  • The name/type of condition you suffer from
  • The diagnosis date
  • Have you had any specialist referrals or hospital admissions
  • Are you still suffering
  • The severity and regularity of symptoms
  • Have you had any time off of work
  • What medication do you take, how much and how often

Do all types of life insurance applications ask about mental health?

Most types of life insurance applications include a question that asks about your medical history of mental health including term life insurance and whole of life insurance.

Over 50s life insurance applications do not ask you about your health but most of them have a qualifying period so claims are not usually paid in the first 12 to 24 months.

Group life insurance that is arranged by a business to cover its employees may not have a suicide clause that prevents a death benefit for an employee who dies as a result of suicide regardless of the time elapsed since the policy was started.

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

In most cases yes. Rather than declining your application, it is likely that you would be offered life insurance with an increased premium (often referred to as a rating or loading) owing to the increased risk. Only those who suffer with serious or recurring mental health issues will be postponed or declined.

Every insurance company is different and so we would recommend that you always speak to an independent life insurance specialist* who can ask all of the relevant questions before speaking to the insurance companies on your behalf. They do all of the hard work for you meaning you can be confident that the company you apply through is the best and cheapest for your own unique circumstances. Any contestability clause can be explained to you if you ask about it and it can be helpful to hear this in lay terms rather than read the technical guides provided by insurance companies. To speak to an independent specialist, who can compare the best and cheapest quotes for you, simply complete this short form*. You may also wish to read our article 'Can I get life insurance with anxiety, stress or mental illness?'

Getting Help if you have had suicidal thoughts

If you find that you are struggling emotionally and need someone to talk to the following organisations can provide you with help:

Samaritans

You can call the Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123 (UK and Ireland).

Mind

Mind has a confidential telephone helpline. Call 0300 123 339 (Lines are open Monday-Friday, 09:00-18:00)

Shout

Shout is a text service that you can text for free from any major mobile network service. It is open 24/7 - Text SHOUT to 85258

CALM

CALM is the campaign against living miserable. It aims to prevent male suicide in the UK and offers anonymous, confidential listening, information and signposting. Call 0800 58 58 58 (Open daily - 5pm - Midnight)

 

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