Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 31, 2021

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The Facts of Life

  • Most life insurance companies require policyholders to have life insurance for over two years to cover death by suicide.
  • Life insurance companies can refuse to pay a claim if the suicide occurs within a year of getting the policy.
  • Group life insurance will cover suicide without a two-year limit.

One of the most frequent questions asked is, “does life insurance cover suicide?” The answer to that question depends on the life insurance company and the time you’ve had term life or whole life insurance.

Suicide is a tremendous tragedy that some of the best life insurance companies won’t cover even if the insured has life insurance. Our guide explains the conditions in which a life insurance company will pay out a claim for suicide and when they won’t.

Don’t wait to get life insurance. Enter your ZIP code in the FREE online quote tool above to compare multiple companies in your area and receive life insurance for suicide.

Does life insurance cover death by suicide?

The short answer is yes. However, life insurance has a suicide clause that says you must have life insurance for at least two years for life insurance claims to pay out for suicide.

How do life insurance claim payouts work for suicide?

Some of the paid life insurance premiums may be returned to the beneficiary after the insured person has passed due to suicide.

According to the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI), most life insurance claims are paid in full. However, life insurance policies need to be current and must not have a past due balance regardless of the cause of death.

When does life insurance not pay for death by suicide?

It depends on the company, but the standard life insurance suicide clause states that the insured must have a life insurance policy for one to two years before a life insurance company pays out a claim due to suicide.

Therefore, death from suicide may not be covered by a life insurance company if the suicide occurs within a year.

Here’s a list of clauses where life insurance companies don’t have to pay out claims.

ClausesLength of Clause Monitors
Suicide Clause1 to 2 yearsSelf-Harm
Contestability Clause2 yearsFraud
Incontestability ClauseAfter 2 yearsProtects Customer Claims and Pay Out
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But how come? There’s something called the contestability period, which runs parallel to the suicide clause. The suicide handles the self-harm portion of the life insurance policy, but contestability deals with fraud.

Private life insurance policies may have this clause somewhere when you sign up for life insurance.

However, some group life insurance policies may not have that rule. Continue reading to learn the difference between personal life insurance and group life insurance.

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The Difference Between Personal Life Insurance and Group Life Insurance

Although personal and group life insurance have the same principles, they work differently. This section of the guide will explain the differences between life insurance you shop for and life insurance an employer gives you as a benefit for working for them.

Personal Life Insurance

Any life insurance that you buy for yourself is considered personal life insurance or private life insurance. You choose the life insurance policy that’s right for you, whether it term life insurance or whole life insurance. The rules for personal life insurance vary based on what type you have.

For deaths by suicide, life insurance may refuse to pay out claims during the contestability period.

However, policyholders are protected by the incontestability clause. The incontestability voids the contestability clause and ensures that you receive a claim payout.

No life insurance company can deny a claim during this period. However, any errors in age, gender, or other important information may cause some issues with claims.

Group Life Insurance

Life insurance you receive from your employer is considered group life insurance. As long as you work for the company, you’ll have life insurance.

Under group life insurance, policyholders aren’t restricted to the contestability clause.

Once you leave your employer, you may lose your life insurance benefits. It’s highly recommended that you get private life insurance to avoid losing the benefits of life insurance.

What should you do if a life insurance claim is denied?

Start looking for billing statements and a copy of your life insurance policy. Take it to a financial professional or an attorney to see what your rights are as a consumer. The contestability clause may cause you trouble, but if you’ve had the policy for several years, make your case immediately.

Don’t panic. Gather all the information to prove that your claim is valid. Hire a financial professional or an attorney to help you through your claim.

The best way to prepare for the financial impacts of suicide is to find a life insurance company that provides life insurance for suicide. Enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool below to compare companies with life insurance for suicide policies.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there’s support to help you through any crisis and renew your reason for living.

Start by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line are available 24/7. The deaf and hearing impaired can contact the lifeline from TTY at 1-800-799-4889. Every call is confidential, reassuring you to maintain your privacy.

Life Insurance For Suicide: The Bottom Line

Suicide has taken one too many lives. Unfortunately, it’s common across the world. Life insurance companies understand how often suicides happen, but they want to ensure that suicides aren’t occurring as malicious acts for fraud.

When a life insurance company refuses to pay a claim after a death, it feels personal. However, it’s the strict rules of life insurance to ensure no one is being defrauded. To prove your case, get all the information you can about the life insurance policy.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Life Insurance For Suicide

Let’s recap what you’ve learned by answering a few questions about suicide life insurance coverage. Be sure to bookmark this page if you ever need to visit again. We’re always updating our web pages as new information comes in.

#1 – What is a life insurance suicide clause?

The life insurance suicide clause says that a life insurance company has the right not to pay a life insurance death benefit if the insured commits suicide within two years of receiving a life insurance policy.

#2 – When can life insurance companies not payout?

Life insurance companies can deny suicide life insurance claims within the first two years of receiving a life insurance policy.

#3 – When does life insurance cover suicide?

After two years have passed, the suicide clause and contestability period will be over. Some companies have a shorter contestability period, which is one year.

#4 – How does employer life insurance policies treat suicide?

Employer life insurance doesn’t carry a contestability period. However, life insurance companies will conduct a thorough investigation before paying out a claim.

The best way to prepare for the financial impacts of suicide is to find a life insurance company that provides life insurance for suicide. Enter your ZIP code in the FREE comparison tool below to compare companies with life insurance for suicide policies.