Life insurance suicide clause

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The life insurance suicide clause is a provision that exists in most life insurance policies. It addresses the issue of suicide and its impact on the policy’s payout. This clause is an important aspect of life insurance contracts and plays a significant role in protecting the interests of both the policyholder and the insurance company.

Understanding the Suicide Clause

The suicide clause in a life insurance policy typically states that if the policyholder dies by suicide within a specified period after the policy’s inception, the insurance company will not pay the death benefit. This period, known as the contestability period, is usually two years from the policy’s start date. If the suicide occurs after this period, the policy will pay out the death benefit as usual.

The rationale behind the suicide clause is to prevent individuals from taking out life insurance policies with the intention of committing suicide shortly thereafter, leaving their beneficiaries with a substantial payout. By including this clause, insurance companies can mitigate the risk of adverse selection and protect their financial stability.

Contestability Period

During the contestability period, the insurance company has the right to investigate the circumstances surrounding the policyholder’s death. This investigation ensures that the death was not a result of suicide committed shortly after obtaining the policy. If the insurance company determines that the policyholder died by suicide during this period, they have the legal right to deny the claim and withhold the death benefit.

It is important to note that the suicide clause does not apply to deaths caused by reasons other than suicide. If the policyholder dies due to natural causes, accidents, or any other non-suicidal reasons, the death benefit will be paid out regardless of the contestability period.

Exceptions to the Suicide Clause

While the suicide clause is a standard provision in most life insurance policies, there are exceptions and variations depending on the jurisdiction and specific policy terms. Some policies may have a modified suicide clause that pays a reduced death benefit if the policyholder dies by suicide within the contestability period. Others may waive the suicide clause altogether, especially for policies with higher premiums or certain types of group life insurance.

It is crucial for policyholders to carefully review the terms and conditions of their life insurance policies to understand the specific provisions related to the suicide clause. Consulting with an insurance professional can provide further clarity on the details and exceptions that may apply.

Importance of the Suicide Clause

The suicide clause serves multiple purposes within the context of life insurance. Firstly, it helps prevent individuals from exploiting life insurance policies to financially benefit their beneficiaries through intentional suicides. This protects the integrity of the insurance industry and ensures that policies are not misused.

Secondly, the suicide clause enables insurance companies to assess the risk associated with insuring individuals who may have a higher likelihood of suicide. By including this provision, insurance companies can accurately price their policies and maintain financial stability.


The life insurance suicide clause is a critical provision that addresses the issue of suicide within life insurance policies. It prevents policyholders from intentionally taking out policies with the intention of committing suicide shortly after, protecting the interests of both the policyholder and the insurance company. Understanding the suicide clause and its implications is essential for policyholders to make informed decisions when purchasing life insurance.


– Investopedia:
– Insurance Information Institute:
– National Association of Insurance Commissioners: