How to Avoid a Declined Payout During 2 Year Contestability Period

by Chris Huntley

How to Avoid Declined Payout During 2 Year Contestability Period

Don't Let This Happen to Your Beneficiaries!

If you’re the insured on a life insurance policy and die within the first two years of the issue date, the insurance carrier has the right to contest your claim.

Most of the time, what this means is they’ll investigate to find out if you made any misrepresentations on your policy application.

If the misrepresenation is “material”, meaning that had they known about it at the time of underwriting, they would not have offered you insurance, then they can deny the claim.

Don’t worry.  This rarely happens.  Please read our post on: Do Life Insurance Companies Really Pay Their Claims?

Example of Material Misrepresentation

I use Google Analytics on my website, and can see that lots of people find my article on Life Insurance for Marijuana Users by searching “What happens if I don’t disclose pot use on life insurance application?”  That’s easy.  Other than committing insurance fraud, if you die within two years and the insurance company finds out you lied on the app, they have grounds to contest the claim (not pay the claim).

During the carrier’s investigation, they’ll look for things you concealed from them on the application.  Common facts people hide the truth about is their medical history, their occupation, smoking, and hazardous activities such as SCUBA diving or rock climbing.

A carrier’s investigation may include requests for medical records, an autopsy report, and a statement from the agent.  They may also question the deceased’s friends and family members.

Say you went on vacation to Mexico and had a heart attack and had bypass surgery.  When you returned to the U.S., you purchased a U.S. life insurance policy, and did not disclose your medical history in Mexico.  If the carrier insures you, and you die within the first two years, they could find out you withheld information from them and deny the claim.  That means your beneficiary(ies) don’t get the death benefit.

Suicide: Most life insurance policies also have two year suicide clauses in them, which say the carrier doesn’t pay the death claim if you commit suicide within the first two years.  In such a case, their liability is usually limited to a refund of premiums.

AFTER TWO YEARS, the policy is said to be “incontestable”.  You can die any way want (including suicide), and the insurance carrier still has to pay out.  I read about a case recently where a person with HIV successfully purchased a life insurance policy.

He was able to do so by lying on the application about his condition, and having a friend show up for the medical exam, giving blood and urine in his place.  When he died four years later, even though he had committed fraud, the insurance carrier had to pay out.

Beware of NEW Two Year Contestability Period: If you let your policy lapse and reinstate it, or in some cases when you make a policy amendment, your two year contestability period might start over again from that date.  Please take this into consideration when you make any life insurance policy changes, or when replacing an old policy for a new one.

If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and have questions about what the life insurance carrier can and can’t ask for, how long they can take to pay a claim, or whether or not you should provide certain bits of information to you, I can’t possibly answer these questions.  Please consult an attorney who specializes in “life insurance claims law”.  I recommend you start by calling Eric Donnocenzo at 212-933-1675.

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*Written by Chris Huntley. Huntley Wealth Insurance and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.
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Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley is the owner of Huntley Wealth Insurance, a San Diego life insurance agency. You can find him on Google + and Facebook. Over the past 8 years, Chris has consulted with over 2000 individuals about their insurance needs. He is a proud husband and father to three adorable girls.
Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon September 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

In the second paragraph your article states “Other than committing insurance fraud, if you die within two years and the insurance company finds out you lied on the app, they have grounds to contest the claim (not pay the claim).”

In the sixth paragraph it states “When he died four years later, even though he had committed fraud, the insurance carrier had to pay out.”

So does insurance fraud apply to the two year no-contest law?

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Chris September 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

hello Brandon. Thanks for your comment. I’ve heard that some companies will still try to contest a claim after the 2 yr period if they can prove fraud was committed. However, the chances of this happening are very low, since the carrier will typically only investigate a claim thoroughly during the first 2 years. Anyway, the point of the article is to be honest on your insurance application, so that you don’t have to worry about any contestability issues.

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Brandon September 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

So I am correct when I say that the insurance company can deny a claim at anytime for fraud. While you say it’s low its still a legal right of the insurance company?

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Chris September 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Here’s how one company’s policy explains their 2 year contestability period:
“After two years from the policy’s effective date, no misstatements in the application will be used to rescind the policy or deny a death claim made after the two-year period. However, we will not pay benefits for any death if fraud.”
So they’d have to prove an incorrect answer on your application was purposely misleading (fraud), rather than a misstatement… very tough to do I would think.
The lesson is, always be 100% truthful on insurance applications and you don’t have to worry about a thing.

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Ericka September 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hello,

How long does it take for no possibility of an ING Term Insurance policy reinstatement once a final lapse notice has been sent?

Thank you in advance..

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Chris September 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I’m not sure with ING, but many contracts can be reinstated for up to 5 years after lapsing. Keep in mind you’ll have to complete a medical questionnaire and pay back all the premiums you missed. You may also owe interest on the premiums you missed.

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Margaret November 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

My husband died after 6 months of signing with a term policy with ING. The policy was a special one for teachers that asked no medical questions at all. . My husband did have a medical condition at the time of signing up, but was told this was a very unique sign up period wherein the insurance company asks no medical questions.

They sent me a letter saying they will have to investigate because of the contestability period. Is it possible he will be denied?

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Chris November 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Margaret,
I’m so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, without knowing the particulars of the case, I can’t comment on the contestability of the claim. Good luck.

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Argent Fur November 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I’ve been delaying buying a term policy due to a nagging distrust of insurance companies. I guess the thing that makes me nervous is that I simply don’t know the answers to many of the health questions. Exactly when did my mother develop heart disease? no idea. How many relatives have died of cancer? no idea. It also doesn’t help that I’ve never been to a doctor (other than vaccines when young), so I have no medical records but could have a cancer or some rare disease right now, who knows? I have absolutely no intention of defrauding anyone, but can’t the insurance company just do this research themselves and offer me a policy based on their research? I feel like they could theoretically contest any little thing and call it fraud because they didn’t find it and I didn’t know about it.

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Chris November 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

This is a tough one. All I can tell you is that as long as you answer as honestly as possible on the application, there’s almost no chance your policy will be contested. So for example with your mother’s age of onset for heart disease, you answer “approximately age X, but not sure”. As for going to a doctor, this will only be a problem if you’re over 60. If you are, most companies will want you to get a physical done before applying. If under age 60, no problem.

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Eunjung Lee November 17, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Recently, I got approved 25 yr term life Insurance from ING. Regarding Beneficiary, I put my husband but after 7 years later I am planning to change to my son ( My son is 11 yr old now so when he reached 18 yr old , I want to change the beneficiary from my husband to him).
Here is my question, if I make this amendment regarding change beneficiary, two year contestability period might start over again from that date ? Please advise me.
Thank you.

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Chris November 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

I don’t believe changing the beneficiary starts a new 2 year contestability period, but you’ll want to double check with ING.

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Aftershock June 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Changing a beneficiary on the policy does not start the 2 year contestability over again, but if you reinstate your policy due to a lapse policy will definitely start the 2 year contestability again. Hope this helps.

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Louis January 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

When an insurance company investigates a death during the first 2 years of the policy, is there a law or statute or industry practice of how long they can take to investigate? How long can they drag their feet and/or how long does it usually last if there’s no rule in place? thanks in advance.

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Chris January 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hello Louis,
Sorry. I don’t know, but I imagine it varies state to state. I’ve heard of some claims lasting 7 years in the case of missing persons, where you can’t get a death certificate until 7 years from the date gone missing. Let me know if you find out the answer to your question. I’m just an agent… have never worked in claims before.

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Shawn May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

My brother passed away 1 1/2 years after he signed the life insurance policy from a heart attack at 41 years old. This is still in the contestability period. He never went to see a doctor with the exception of a couple of emergency room visits for other problems (nothing heart related) Will the insurance company (Gerber) try to deny this claim? It was a 20 year term policy.

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Chris Huntley May 16, 2012 at 11:22 am

Hello Shawn,
I am not a Gerber agent and can’t speak for their company, but can make a couple blanket statements about this situation. Assuming your brother truly knew nothing about his heart when he applied for insurance, then he did not withhold information on the application. How can anyone be penalized for not knowing the future? However, you may expect that Gerber will conduct an investigation before paying out. I would also check with Gerber to make sure this was not a graded death benefit policy, meaning the full death benefit is not paid out for a 2-3 year period. That’s something entirely different than contesting a claim.

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Shawn June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Well, I’m assuming they are conducting their investigation and can’t find anyting because I just received a letter asking for information dating back to Sept. 2003. They are asking me to provide information that I don’t have such as previous addresses, previous employers, all hospitals, clinics visited, etc. If I don’t have this information will they deny or delay paying out the claim?

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Chris Huntley June 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Hi Shawn,
How frustrating! You should really contact an attorney with these questions. I can’t speculate as to the outcome of the death claim based on whether or not you provide that info to them for obvious legal reasons. I do have a few suggestions for you, though, if you want to call me at 877-443-9467. Good luck.

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Shawn July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I just wanted to provide an update…still no payout yet. I guess they are still conducting their investigation! The claims rep. called me a couple of weeks ago asking additional questions about if he had a primary doctor or any emergency rooms visits. I contacted them a couple days ago and was told that they had everything they needed and that if they had any more questions that the claims rep would contact me directly but still no direct response as to whether they will pay or not. I guess no news is good news, otherwise they would have sent me a denial letter by now????

Bruce May 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

My mother passed while only 1 year into the contestable period of her policy. I realize this gives the insurance company the right to investigate, but if nothing “fishy” can be found and everything is correct, how long can they continue to contest?

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Chris Huntley May 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Bruce, You might check your policy. I can tell you it normally adds a couple months to the process but don’t know what the max is. I agree, though, that there must be some limit to how long they can put off paying the claim without reasonable evidence of something “fishy” going on.

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Bruce May 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

They’ve been giving me the run around since last July. It has now been 10 months and it is painfully obvious they are trying to avoid paying the claim. I don’t know what to do to get them to end this.

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Chris Huntley May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

Bruce,
What state are you in? There are law firms who fight this such as Weitz & Luxenburg. See: http://www.weitzlux.com/life-insurance-policy_1912326.html

They must prove a material misrepresentation was made, and the burden of proof is on them… but I’m sorry. I don’t know how long they have to prove this.

Also, I’m curious… which insurance carrier is it?

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Bruce May 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

We are in South Carolina. The insurance carrier is Foresters aka The Independent Order of Foresters.

Fritz1218 November 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Knowing that it must be a real pain to deal with the company during their investigation, it’s been my experience that a lot of insurance companies pay a decent interest rate from the date of death until the date the check is printed.

Sherri Jennings July 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm

My brother passed away of heart disease and hypertension August 30, 2011 less than 1 year into the 2 year contestable period. The death claim is $25,000 with William Penn Association. My brother didn’t go to the doctor and they could find no medical history. The only medical records that were found was of a minor eye injury where he went to the emergency room. I had to get those records for them through a surrogate letter. Now they are asking me to get the autopsy report for them. I have been cooperating in the hopes that they would pay the claim. This has become very stressful. Im I required to help them find something to contest the claim? Do I have to help provide the autopsy report?

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Chris Huntley July 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

I can’t possibly answer these questions. I recommend you call insurance attorney, Eric Donnocenzo at 212-933-1675.

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Shawn August 6, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hi Sherri,

I just went through the same thing where my brother passed away from a heart attack 1 1/2 years after getting the policy. My brother didn’t go to the doctor’s either. The insurance company asked me for information regarding doctors, workman’s comp. etc. I wrote a statement saying that I did not have that information. They also requested the autopsy report but they contacted the medical examiners office themselves and got the report on their own. It took about 90 days but I finally received payment. My suggestion would be to give them what they ask for if you have the information. If you have no knowledge then write a statement saying that you have no knowledge or no further information. After all, it is their investigation they need to do the leg work.

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Paul December 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I bought a life insurance policy for my father in November of 2011, than in December 2012 the company Western Southern rescinded my policy without written notice. I’ve called in on multiple accounts to speak to a case manager, but was denied. What are my legal rights?

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Chris Huntley January 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Hi Paul,
You’d have to speak with an attorney who specializes in insurance law.

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Elizabeth Pellegrino January 28, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I bought a life insurance policy with MONY 10 yrs ago. There was a premium due of $81.50 which I paid by check on time through the mail. I received a letter from MONY stated my policy lapsed and that they never received or processed my check. I did not receive my bank statement prior to this letter and did not realize they had not cashed my check. I believe this could have been deliberate. I have been paying for this insurance policy for 10 YEARS. Now they are asking for a new application for reinstatement. In the interim I had received a DUI for refusal of breathalizer. This happened 2 years ago. Will I have any chance of reinstatement for my 10-yr policy of $100,000. I am 63 yrs old now and have no health problems. Pls advise.

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Chris Huntley February 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Hello Elizabeth,
This is quite the predicament. They probably won’t reinstate the policy at the same rating class due to your DUI. If I were you, I would get a hold of a life insurance attorney to fight the reinstatement for you without going back through underwriting. Sounds like you may have a case.

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Teneika February 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm

My father is ill. He has life insurance but it will not fully cover the cost of his expenses. Are there any insurance companies that will pay a full death benefit under the two year period if all of the correct and updated information is provided? What type of insurance would you suggest for this situation?

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Marsha March 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Hi if someone dies during the 2 year period and your claim is denied to they have to pay you the premiums that you have paid towards the policy thanks??

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Chris Huntley March 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Usually the premiums are returned, yes. You would have to check the policy.

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Joanna April 19, 2013 at 1:07 am

I’m expecting a baby soon and work for the company my husband owns. If something should happen to him the company would dissolve. We want a substantial policy to cover the potential salary and lifestyle our daughter would have. Should we get a term policy as well as a whole policy to be safe. He is 48 and has high BP and high cholesterol. He also works in a hazardous industry w cancerous chemicals and truck driving. Thank you, I don’t know where to start.

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Chris Huntley April 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Hey Joanna,
Congrats on the new addition. Give us a call at 877-443-9467 and we’ll be happy to help you with this.

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Tifany April 25, 2013 at 9:43 am

My mother recently died of accidental overdose of her high blood pressure medicine. She had other term life insurance policies (2) to be exact that she’s paid on for 20 years or better. She very recently purchased a term life policy for me and my daughters through Globe Life. I understand that this is within the two year contestability clause and she was honest about her hypertention and depression illness on the application, but she was still issued a policy. What is the likelihood of it paying? And if denied, what could possibly be the basis since there was no material misrepresentations?

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Chris Huntley April 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Hi Tifany,
I’m sorry for your loss.

I really can’t speak for what Globe Life is going to do, as I don’t work for them. Submit the claim form and see what happens.

If it wasn’t suicide, you probably won’t have any trouble with the payout.

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CMS June 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm

My mom passed away recently and, going thru her mail, we found a bill for an active insurance policy–we made the payment so that the policy did not lapse. We asked for a copy of the actual policy. I noticed that the birth date was incorrect-wrong year (she had bad handwriting) will this hinder the claim…the policy was only 14 months old

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Chris Huntley July 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I doubt that would be an issue. The insurance company would normally reprice the policy based on the accurate date of birth, and charge you back any additional premiums that should have been paid during the 14 months (or possibly credit you if it works in your favor.)

The only problem I could see was let’s say she took out the application when she was 70 but they thought she was 69. Perhaps if they knew she was 70, they would have done additional testing on her, but because they thought she was 69, didn’t do it. (for example, some companies have age thresholds when they begin doing an ekg or a cognitive test as part of their exam).

I suppose they could make an argument like this, but doubt it.

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Fritz1218 November 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Don’t you think that rather than dealing with the premiums because of an age misstatement the ins. co. would alter the amount of insurance to an amount that the premiums would have bought at the correct age.

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

Yeah, that makes sense to me, but that’s not what they do. :)

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Tina July 7, 2013 at 7:07 am

Hi my name is Tina my father-in-law passed away three months ago due to a heart attack It Was And nonmedical insurance policy But my father-in-law did have diabetes since he was two and we told them that And he was a smoker and we told them that to But we had no idea of any heart conditions are heart problems He passed away seven days before the two-year mark So they did a full investigation We got them every paper they asked from us It’s at the last and final stage And we still do not have you are no answer Three months later My questions to you is one Does it take longer for a yes or a no And do you think this policy will be paid out Thank you sincerely Tina

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Chris Huntley July 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hi Tina,
Sounds like it would be a valid claim to me. They should only deny it if he withheld info or told them false info on the application. Of course, how could he have known he had heart disease? He didn’t, so he didn’t lie on the application.

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Roeatta July 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I purchased a whole life insurance policy from Globe for my son in Feb. 2012, my son was shot and killed in March of 2013. I know it was during the contestable period and I have sent them all the necessary paperwork they needed for their investigation however when I call them they keep telling me its pending. They even sent me a letter stating that they received everything they needed for the investagation. His death certificate states HOMICIDE. I do not understand why they have not paid out the claim. I filed a complaint with the BBB and now the won’t talk to me at all. How long can they continue to delay the claim and what can I do…..It has now been 4 months.

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Chris Huntley July 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

Hello Roeatta,
Oh my goodness. That is horrible. I’m so sorry for your loss. As for your son’s life insurance claim, you might get an attorney involved. I’m not sure how long they are allowed to investigate.

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Flint July 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I have a possible unfortunate event that may occur. My wife may commit suicide in the coming days (she has gone to the hospital, gotten help, counseling, the works, we’ve tried everything). I have done everything in my power to save her.
I’ve been trying to read over my life insurance policy (which I have had for near 5 or more years) about suicide. I am the primary on the policy, and my wife is the beneficiary. My question is, in the event of the worst, should I expect any help from the insurance company on what I have covered for her (so I may take care of her there after). I’m hope I’m asking the question correctly, but its such a tough time at the moment, and I’m trying to prepare for the worst.

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Chris Huntley July 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

Hello Flint,
I’m sorry for your unfortunate situation. I wish I could give you a solid answer, but I can’t tell you that I quite understand your question. It sounds like you’re saying the policy is on your life with her as the beneficiary should something happen to you. I’m not sure how that applies to any questions about her committing suicide. Does she also have a policy on here life? You might give me a call with more details and I’ll help if I can. 877-443-9467

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Robert August 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I have a 30 yr life insurance policy with 12 yrs into it. My beneficiary is my mother and contingent is my sister I have decided for my sister to be the owner of this policy because I cannot afford to keep paying the policy any longer and she is willing to pay my life policy. Would there be any changes that would affect this policy if I change ownership and should my sister be 1st beneficiary and mom as contingent and for what reason or can I keep the beneficiaries the same.

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Concerned Relative August 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Hello there. My father died two weeks ago. The insurance company has made three different appointments with my mother, and has simply not shown up all three times. They are ignoring her phone calls and blew her off again today. This was a relatively small policy thy purchased one year ago. He disclosed all his health issues, and then died of something else entirely. I suppose my question is this: is this normal, this type of treatment? Should she expect an investigation? And what do we do if they stonewall her? An attorney may cost more than what she or I can afford. Thoughts?

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ahna October 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I have a dear friend who passed away about 2 weeks ago. We found out that her life insurance lapsed in July 2013. She has had the life insurance for years. she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in August 2012. Is there anyway that the kids can claim the benefits if her insurance lapsed? Thank you in advance for your help.

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 9:05 am

Hello Ahna,
So sorry for your loss. If the policy was lapsed, I don’t see how they could collect. Sorry.

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Greg Prentice October 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Chris ,In 9/2010 I purchased life insurance for me and my 2 daughters . On 8/2013 my daughter took her life ,i filled out claim forms and supplied death certificate ,icall insurance company inquiring about the claim , I told the lady i was waiting for claim to be paid , funeral and burial cost needed to be paid ! She made the remark that cause of death wasn”t completed . and it was gun shot to body, she replyed , I need reason of death. My daugther had a history of mental illness . I ve got this bad vibe that the insurance company is going to give me what they call a good ol screwing ! What is your wisdom on this ? It happen in Tennessee

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Chris Huntley November 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I think it will eventually be resolved without problems as long as it was past the suicide clause. I don’t see the issue if you had a death certificate. Keep at ‘em, and if you have trouble, get help from an attorney to look over your policy and original application to be sure all is in order.

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Sandy October 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

In a sad turn of events, my boyfriends estrained wife, is being charged in the death of their one year old son. On his death certificate it states his death was homicide, from blunt trauma to the head. My boyfriend had purchased a policy for his two children only months prior. I am aware of 2 year contestability and the need for an investegation of previous medical records, but would it be neccasary for such an investegation of a homicide? If so, how long of a period should this take before we grow enough concern to contact an attorney? Thank you in advance for your help.

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Sookio November 3, 2013 at 5:49 am

Hey there, Chris.
My insurance agent is telling me that I don’t need to tell the nurse that I have a primary doctor because disclosing that will just make the process a lot slower. He is saying this since I don’t have any medical problems. He says that if I have any conditions like high blood pressure or cholesterol, I should disclose the fact that I have a primary doc since all record will be with MIB but since I’m healthy, there is no need to because the insurance company will do their own physical exam anyway.

Is this OK? I mean I don’t have anything to hide. I have no medical conditions or any medication that I take regularly. But can this lie cost me my benefit later in any way? Can the insurance company find out that I actually have a primary doc later when I die and deny the claim? I did disclose that I had a knee surgery but since the orthodontist was referred by my primary, that might be on record? From reading your article it seems like even though I didn’t hide any serious conditions nor it would have had affected the policy, it still is a fraud since I actually lied.

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Chris Huntley November 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I would say you should run from that insurance agent.

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Christina November 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Hello Chris. My father died two years and 7 days after he started his life insurance. He died of AIDS, I am his beneficiary, will the Insurance Company pay me?

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

I’m sorry for your loss. I can’t speak for his policy. Give us a call if you need any help.

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Melissa December 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

Hi Chris,
How long by law are they allowed to take to fully investigate? They have been investigating my husband’s claim for 10 months now.
Melissa

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:52 am

I’m not a lawyer. I can’t answer that. Sorry. I think it’s a state-by-state thing.

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Lina Hafoka December 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

If the mortuary gets paid by the insurance company does that mean the claim was approved and the remainder of the policy amount will be sent to the beneficiary?

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:53 am

You’re probably talking about a burial plan. I’m not familiar with that type of policy. Sorry.

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Lina Hafoka December 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

I have been paying on my Dad’s life insurance policy since November 2009. The payments were automatically deducted from my checking account. I closed my bank accouny in August 2012 due to fraud and was without a bank for 3 mths. I was sending money orders to HSBC for those 3 mths to avoid a lapse in coverage. In Octobee 2012, I received a cancellation notice from HSBC saying the policy had lapsed due to nonpayment. They claimed payments were not received and they do NOT accept mailed payments ONLY automatic deductions from a credit card or the bank. They had no idea where my 3 payments were at, even though the payments were sent to the SAME address I had sent the original application to. So, I had to pay the 3 months again and reinstate the policy starting in October. Does this start the 2 year contestibility again? My Dad died on October 14th. The mortuary has advised me that they have already received their payment from the insurance. Does this mean the claim was approved?

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Shawn T December 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

Chris,

I have relative that is @ stage 4 of Lung Cancer and he has NO coverage for Life Insurance. I am exploring AARP and Colonial Penn for coverage…. he has been given 6 months to live. If I purchase a policy can the claim be denied due to the 2 year contestability period? The insurance product is ‘Guaranteed Life’ with no questions asked. Any help would be appreciated.

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:55 am

Sorry it took so long to respond here. I only check my comments every few months. He could probably get a guaranteed issue policy but typically all they pay is return of premium if you pass away in the first 2-3 years, so might not be right for him.

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Nalini January 22, 2014 at 7:00 am

What is the relevance/importance of listing life insurance policies held at other insurance companies and the amounts when filling out the claims application?

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Chris Huntley January 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

Sorry. I don’t know why they would need to know that.

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Bonnie February 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Hello Chris,

My husband has had life insurance for 10 years, and just passed away 2 months ago.
When he first applied he made the insurance company aware he had thyroid disease, and was taking medicine for it. A medicine to replace the hormones that the thyroid is suppose to produce. Anyways, he had a cancerous lump on his thyroid so they needed to remove part of it – the broker told him he did not have to write cancer, so he checked no to cancer. However, he did fully state he had thyroid disorder and stated the drug he was taking. His doctor also sent this info to the insurance company – his thyroid surgery was 5 years previous to his application for life insurance. He was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, a completely UNRELATED cancer.

Many delays are now happening, and no pay out has been giving. Is this viewed as fraud? He made clear he had thyroid issues on the initial application. My husband would never lie, but broker said it wasn’t necessary and he is a man who trusted ones easily. Any help is appreciated Chris.

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 9:01 am

Hi Bonnie,
Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband.

I would think the company would pay out here since he tried to disclose the thyroid disease. Sometimes on applications, it’s a matter of whether or not an applicant acted in “good faith.” For example, if someone has high blood pressure, do they answer yes or no to the question “Have you been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease?” Well.. most people wouldn’t call high BP “cardiovascular disease” so most would answer no.

Anyway, if they don’t pay out, you might get an attorney to look into the case for you.

Good luck,
Chris

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Jason Lewite March 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

Hey Chris, my Father has a policy with Gerber and he has 2 policy with them, the first policy was open in 2011 and he open another in 2012, he passed away a week ago. Im new to this but one of his policy is incontestable and one is contestable. Will they have to payout the beneficiary for the one that was open in 2011 if he misstatement on his application?

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Chris Huntley March 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hello Jason,
I’m sorry to hear about your father. I really can’t speak for your father’s payouts. My article is intended for use as a general guide. You’ll have to call Gerber about this. Thank you and again, I’m so sorry for your loss. Chris

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cindy harvey March 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm

My husbands sister past away 7 days before? the 2 year period. Will it be
contested or will it be paid if nothing was strange

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Chris Huntley March 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

Hi Cindy,
Generally speaking, with nothing “strange” as you said, the death claim should go no problem, but I obviously can’t comment on specific claims not being a rep for the carrier.

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coleen March 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

insuranceblogbychris.com
if a person is intoxicated or under the influence at time of death by accidental shooting can the policy be declined?

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Chris Huntley March 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

You’d have to look in the policy exclusions. Many accidental policies will not pay out for these types of deaths.

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Rich March 25, 2014 at 6:54 am

My uncle was 56 and decided to move back to his home country. Knowing that anything can happened while there, he took out a 10,000 accidental life policies and Globe agreed to an accidental one added to it.

He had a bus accident on January 28 of 2013 and died less than 10 days after. The foreign government has provided all the legal papers as well as the medical certificate from the doctor that saw him for 2 days after the accident, but the insurance companies kept asking for additional papers that I don’t have since it happens overseas.

They kept asking for papers that were previously submitted, threatening to deny the claim, although that they were mailed certified through the Post office and I have delivery receipts.
Any advice!

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Chris Huntley March 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

Hi Rich,
I’m so so for the loss of your uncle. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on this. This would be a question for an attorney.

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Chris Huntley May 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Well, I’m relieved to hear it’s not one of the companies I represent. Sounds a bit sketchy to me. You may want to seek legal advice at this point. This law firm says on their site they help anyone in the U.S. http://www.weitzlux.com/life-insurance-policy_1912326.html I don’t know them, so this is not a personal referral, but I do recognize their site, as I have found it on many occasions while researching topics for my blog, and can tell you their website is very informative and professional. Good luck.

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Chris Huntley April 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

Great feedback. Thanks!

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