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Life Insurance provides financial coverage to the family after the accidental or untimely death of the insured due to some suffering or disease. But what happens in case the insured commits suicide?

The concern is taken seriously by the insurance companies and they provide coverage in case the insured commits suicide but under certain terms and conditions.

Why Insurance Company Offers a Helping Hand?

An individual commits suicide in the worst scenario. It can be a debt pressure, a personal problem, or a professional/ career stress. In all the situations the individual might be in shortage of money and in-case he commits suicide then a heavy debt comes onto the family left behind. In such a situation if the insurance steps back in such a tough time then it will not be possible for the family to survive. 

So, the insurance companies came forward as a helping hand to the family of the insured in tough times by providing them the benefits after the death of the insured subject to certain terms and conditions.

When Were The Changes Made?

Before the year 2014, all the life insurance policies did not include any such clause relating to the case of suicide. At that time no claims were entertained by the insurance companies in case the insured committed suicide. But from 2014, amendments were made keeping in mind the pain and suffering of the left behind family and children.

Eligibility For Suicidal Life Insurance Claim

  • No claims Before 12 Months: The life insurance policies of different companies mentioned that within the 12 months or a year of the life insurance policy if someone commits suicide then the family is not eligible for the after-death benefits of the insurance. After a year suicidal cases were eligible to get the benefits of life insurance
  • Lapsed Policy: In case the insured attempted suicide after living several years and the life insurance policy has lapsed then again no claims could be made over the policy. It was very necessary to claim the policy the insured died when the policy was running and active. A lapsed policy had no claims.

Percentage of life Insurance Claim Entertained By Companies

(Applicable to Life Insurance Policies bought after 1 January 2014)

  • Non-Linked/Traditional Life Insurance Plans: If the suicide was committed within 12 months of the commencement of the new policy and the plan was a traditional life insurance plan then the nominee gets only 80% of the premium and no extra premiums paid in case of death by suicide.
  • Market Linked Life Insurance Plans: In this, the nominee was entitled to get 100% of the claim in case of suicidal death under the policy tenure.
  • A Revived Life Insurance Policy: If the insured committed suicide within 12 months from the revival of the life insurance policy then the nominee would get 80% of the premiums paid excluding any extra premiums or surrender values. The insurer will not entertain:
    • If the insured committing suicide is below 8 years at the time of revival.
    • Policy lapse without acquiring paid-up value. Nothing is payable in such a condition.

Why a Fixed Time Limit Of a Year

Prevention of fraudulence is as important as providing insurance security. The insurance companies found that people who were under huge debts planned to buy a policy and thereafter committed suicide. This was a burden to the insurance companies. As a solution, the insurance companies applied certain terms and conditions and only after fulfilling them insurance could be claimed. 

This also decreased the death risk of the insured in the initial years of buying a policy.

Do All Companies Offer Suicidal Claim?

The insurance companies have their own set of rules. So, the policies vary from company to company. At present, almost all the insurance companies have a separate clause for suicidal cases under Life Insurance Plans. All you need to do is read the policy terms and conditions carefully and keep things clear cut. Any confusion can make you pay unnecessarily.

Third-Party/Loan Against Life Insurance Policy

If an insured takes a loan from the third party against the policy and he commits suicide then, the third party has the benefit as it gets the loan paid by the insurance company. But, only in one situation that the insurer receives a notice one month before the death of the insured.

No Suicidal Claims If

  • If a lapsed policy is revived and after that, the insured commits suicide within 12 months.
  • Wrong Information given by the policyholder to the insurer can lead to claim cancellation.
  • It is very rare but in case the nominee dies before the notice period then the legal heirs can claim the benefits.
  • If Insured falls under Group Life Insurance policy and commits suicide then no claims are entertained.

Conclusion

Suicide is a crime in the court of law and a curse to the family left behind. So, it is better not to commit such a hateful activity. The insurance companies have different procedures for cases like this. It can provide financial coverage to the family of the insured but can never replace the insured in the hearts of the family members. Better live with a life insurance plan rather than committing suicide.

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Naval Goel is the founder of PolicyX.com. He is an Associate Member of the Indian Institute of Insurance`, Pune. He has been authorized by IRDA to act as a Principal Officer of PolicyX.com Insurance Web Aggregator.
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