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How to Avoid a Declined Payout During 2 Year Contestability Period

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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

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{ 121 comments… add one }

  • Brandon September 20, 2011, 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?

    • Chris September 20, 2011, 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.

      • Brandon September 20, 2011, 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?

        • Chris September 22, 2011, 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.

  • Ericka September 24, 2011, 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..

    • Chris September 28, 2011, 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.

  • Margaret November 14, 2011, 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?

    • Chris November 15, 2011, 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.

  • Argent Fur November 16, 2011, 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.

    • Chris November 21, 2011, 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.

  • Eunjung Lee November 17, 2011, 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.

    • Chris November 21, 2011, 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.

      • Aftershock June 16, 2013, 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.

  • Louis January 13, 2012, 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.

    • Chris January 18, 2012, 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.

  • Shawn May 15, 2012, 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.

    • Chris Huntley May 16, 2012, 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.

      • Shawn June 6, 2012, 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?

        • Chris Huntley June 6, 2012, 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.

          • Shawn July 24, 2012, 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, 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?

    • Chris Huntley May 16, 2012, 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.

      • Bruce May 17, 2012, 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.

        • Chris Huntley May 18, 2012, 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?

          • Bruce May 18, 2012, 2:45 pm

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

          • Chris Huntley May 18, 2012, 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.

          • Fritz1218 November 14, 2013, 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.

          • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 8:50 am

            Great feedback. Thanks!

  • Sherri Jennings July 5, 2012, 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?

    • Chris Huntley July 27, 2012, 11:21 am

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

    • Shawn August 6, 2012, 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.

  • Paul December 27, 2012, 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?

    • Chris Huntley January 11, 2013, 3:56 pm

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

  • Elizabeth Pellegrino January 28, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley February 7, 2013, 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.

  • Teneika February 15, 2013, 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?

  • Marsha March 21, 2013, 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??

    • Chris Huntley March 22, 2013, 3:03 pm

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

  • Joanna April 19, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley April 24, 2013, 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.

  • Tifany April 25, 2013, 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?

    • Chris Huntley April 25, 2013, 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.

  • CMS June 27, 2013, 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

    • Chris Huntley July 2, 2013, 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.

      • Fritz1218 November 14, 2013, 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.

        • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 8:51 am

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

          • me112233 November 26, 2014, 10:59 pm

            Actually, that is what they do. The company determines how much insurance her premium would have purchased had her birth date been properly disclosed, and adjust the face amount accordingly. This almost has to be a mail-order whole life policy (from the context of the persons’ original post) like Globe, Physician’s Mutual, and United of Omaha often market by direct mail and TV ads, and that is pretty-much the only remedy available. You are thinking of group term coverage, where premium adjustments for errors are commonly done.

  • Tina July 7, 2013, 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

    • Chris Huntley July 30, 2013, 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.

  • Roeatta July 19, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley July 30, 2013, 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.

  • Flint July 29, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley July 30, 2013, 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

  • Robert August 13, 2013, 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.

  • Concerned Relative August 24, 2013, 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?

  • ahna October 8, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 9:05 am

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

  • Greg Prentice October 14, 2013, 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

    • Chris Huntley November 13, 2013, 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.

  • Sandy October 22, 2013, 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.

  • Sookio November 3, 2013, 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.

  • Christina November 14, 2013, 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?

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 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.

  • Melissa December 2, 2013, 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

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 8:52 am

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

  • Lina Hafoka December 2, 2013, 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?

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 8:53 am

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

  • Lina Hafoka December 2, 2013, 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?

  • Shawn T December 9, 2013, 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.

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 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.

  • Nalini January 22, 2014, 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?

  • Bonnie February 7, 2014, 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.

    • Chris Huntley April 16, 2014, 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

  • Jason Lewite March 5, 2014, 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?

    • Chris Huntley March 7, 2014, 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

  • cindy harvey March 16, 2014, 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

    • Chris Huntley March 26, 2014, 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.

  • coleen March 19, 2014, 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?

    • Chris Huntley March 26, 2014, 10:31 am

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

  • Rich March 25, 2014, 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!

    • Chris Huntley March 26, 2014, 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.

  • Candace April 28, 2014, 7:56 pm

    Hi Chris,

    My husband died 12/1/13. He had an AFLAC life insurance for one year at the time of his death. I put in a claim in December 2013 and also sent all the doctor’s files at their request. My husband had a long history of hypertension but his death was rule an accident. He ingested a mix of drugs and alcohol and the metabolite of the two things killed him. Since December my claim has been under “review”. Is there anything I can do to get them to expedite this. AFLAC IS horrible :(

    • Chris Huntley May 5, 2014, 9:18 am

      Hello Candace,
      I can’t speak for Aflac, as I’m not their representative but I know sometimes those accidental death policies don’t pay out if alcohol or drugs are involved. As for getting them to expedite, I think a letter from an attorney can always help. That shows you mean business.

      I’m sorry for you loss.

      Chris

  • Stephanie Keogh May 3, 2014, 6:46 pm

    My husband 5,000 life insurance policy is requesting an autopsy. He had a massive stroke . The autopsy was done for my daughters sake . I feel it is none of the insurances business why. Embolism / venous or arterial malformation or brain tumor . My larger policies have all paid . I have complained to the better business bureau .

  • Candace May 5, 2014, 6:26 pm

    I am not trying to collect on accidental death….it is a regular life insurance policy. I think I am going to take your advice and consult an attorney though……thank you :)

  • mellissa May 5, 2014, 7:51 pm

    Hi I had a question we were in the process of waiting for a answer for the life insurance claim when my mother passed and they denied it because she was a diabetic and had liver disease. The thing is when the person came to sell the insurance to them we gave him all the meds and answered everything truthfully and I didn’t give them my parents bank info until I spoke and emailed back and forth that even with her meds and condition she would still be covered and she said yes. now they deny the claim is there anything I can do…I saved all the emails she sent me where she said she would be covered. thank you

    • Chris Huntley June 12, 2014, 10:57 am

      Hi Mellissa,
      Yeay, I would definitely talk to an attorney. Sounds like you tried to disclose everything in good faith. You’ll have to check the actual policy and attached application though, to see if the agent answered all the questions truthfully. Telling your agent does not always = correctly answered questions on the application. So if your agent filled out the application for you, you might have a case against him or her.

  • Michelle July 14, 2014, 12:04 pm

    Hello,

    My son Was shot and killed May 29th 2014, I took out a policy in January 2014 with Globe life, I sent in all the information they requested. Now they want the autoposy report, will they pay the claim if they find Marijuana on the toxocolgy report, I am not sure if he smoked or not. It wasnt a question when I signed up if he smoked or not.

    • Chris Huntley February 23, 2015, 3:36 pm

      Hi Michelle I replied to this partially on another post where you commented. As for the Marijuana, it depends, like you say, if anything was hidden on the application. You might seek an insurance attorney for your questions.

  • Rich July 21, 2014, 8:58 am

    Hi Chris:
    Does the 2 year contestability period start with the date of issue or with the date of death ? My dad bought a policy in January 2012 and died in January 2013. The insurance company says they have until January 2015 to complete their investigation. Shouldn’t it be January of 2014, which is 2 years after the issue date ?

  • Laura August 12, 2014, 2:20 pm

    What are the laws in the legal notification that a life insurance company has to provide to the policy owner before the policy is terminated?
    Is the burden of proof on the life insurance company to produce the notices if they are in question?

    We just got in the mail that our life insurance policy that we have been paying on for 20 years was terminated due to non-payment. We have never received any cancellation notices, nor did our insurance agent.
    ….and they can’t produce them.
    Does it look like a valid lawsuit to you?

    • Chris Huntley February 23, 2015, 4:23 pm

      Hey Laura,
      Not sure but every company I work with provides at least 2 notices (usually 3 or 4 though), 1 when premium is late and the policy is in danger of lapsing, and 1 when it has lapsed and gives them a chance to pay back the premiums and reinstate the policy without evidence of insurability. Sure talk to a lawyer. That sucks.

  • Nuyurk August 25, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Hello,

    will the beneficiary get paid if the insurance company finds out the deceased died of HIV and never disclosed this info when he opened the policy? also can the health care proxy be paid eventhough the deceased has 2 children that want to contest the payout for them and not the healthcare proxy. he lied and said he is a cousin. He is actually the lover of the deceased and listed as a cousin. (this is fraud).

    • Chris Huntley February 23, 2015, 4:25 pm

      sound like questions for an attorney. I’m not following the situation

  • Robert Soto August 30, 2014, 1:46 pm

    My brother had insurance with globe life for three years,he died and I call globe to uniformed them ,the Globe rep. Told me to send a death notice , death. Certificate ,name ,address , telephone number of beneficiary for did all that .He died May19,2014 his insurance was paid til June 16 ,2014. When check claim status on website it would say claim depending ,now it say lapsed coverage how can it be lapsed if it is paid til June 16 ,2014, I need help since I have been waiting for over a month and a half .

  • Patti September 8, 2014, 8:53 am

    Question about accident ins because I’m totally confused on this! My husband was in a horrible accident in 1993 knocked off the top of a tanker truck hung on to the hose that blew out to keep from falling swung around over 30 ft from side to side and finally thrown to the ground a zillion problems over a 20 yr span and recently passed away due to this accident per the medical examine! How do I get the Insurance co that holds our insurance to pay out this policy if it’s over 20 yrs ago he had the accident but the medical examiner says he passed away from this accident due to the complications over these past 20 yrs what do I do!

    • Chris Huntley February 23, 2015, 4:28 pm

      Hi Patti,
      I think you have a case here and I understand where you’re coming from, but I think that will be hard to collect on. I don’t sell a lot of accidental but I’m sure somewhere in the policy there is some language about a limit of liability, for lack of better words.

  • Kiyorni September 21, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I recently bought a life insurance to replace another one. The new agent representing the insurance told me that I need to get blood work done. She only sells life insurance that has to complete blood work.
    My previous life insurance didn’t require any blood work at all. Just a medical history through my primary physician.
    I’m still in the process of being accepted by the new policy and my old policy is still current.
    I want to confirm what the new insurance agent told me: that majority of insurance company wont pay and will fight paying out to your beneficiaries, if you didn’t complete a blood work. So, in the case, if I bought my life insurance and didn’t have any medical problems at 29yrs old, paid my policy diligently up on till my death (lets say 80yrs old). During the interim of the policy found out if have high blood pressure at 40 yrs old (past the 2 years contestable period) and died because of it, my policy won’t payout to my beneficiaries?
    Please let me know, as this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it.

  • Eric September 25, 2014, 4:23 am

    Hi Chris,
    My fiancé died in August and I was the beneficiary for his life insurance he was insurance with amarican national life insurance company of New York. By the way he pased away from a terrible heart attack in Sri Lanka while he was spending vacation with me !!!!!. So I sent the death certificate to them about two week ago and after that they send me another form which I have to give the authorization for check his medical records and stuff then I file it and sent it too, in last week. So I want to know

    will I get the insurance ASAP or it’s going to be really late ?
    And why they have to check his medical records after the death, even it s clearly saying on autopsy he died with heart attack?

    • Chris Huntley June 10, 2015, 12:04 pm

      Sorry for the late reply. They had to check his medical records to be sure he didn’t misstate any answers on the application (lie about his health). For example, if he stated he never had any heart conditions, but in fact, his medical records show prior to applying for life insurance he had been treated for a heart disorder, they may deny the claim.

  • Matt October 7, 2014, 5:44 am

    A friend had a $100,000 State Farm life insurance policy in Texas in August of 2012. He raised the beneficiary amount to $500,000 March of 2014. He recently committed suicide last month. Is the first $100,000 part at least not contestable? What is the likelihood they would pay out the entire $500,000 policy?

  • Kim Greischar October 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Hi Chris,
    My husband took his life with a shooting his head and was depressed and probably drinking at the time. The death certificate says depression and alcoholism the manner is suicide. He has been diagnosed for about 5 years with both. We live in Minnesota.
    We have had our life insurance on him for 12 years. Will it still be covered?

    • Chris Huntley June 10, 2015, 12:02 pm

      You’ll have to check the policy wording. Most policies pay out for suicide after the policy has been in force for 2 years. (unless it’s an accidental death only)

  • Lisa January 8, 2015, 4:48 am

    I have a husband that needs life Ins. right away with out a medical exam.
    However, he has been diagnosed with liver cancer/due to hep c. and alcohol use. We only draw 941.00 dollars a month and this takes amount is not even enough to pay our bills let alone for a funeral. I need a company that does not require a medical exam or questions that will pay out regardless when death happens….the doctors said that he could lives years if he takes care of himself….but, I think he still drinks without my knowledge.
    Please help me….I don’t know what to do.
    Thank you for your time and attention.
    423-525-1773

    • Chris Huntley February 24, 2015, 3:13 am

      Hi Lisa,
      We will be getting a hold of you to find out more about you and your husband. It sounds like there is a lot to take into consideration.

  • evelyn February 27, 2015, 8:30 am

    Hi, Chris I purchase a contestable policy for my newly wed husband back on June 19, 2014 and we got married on July 25, 2014. On January 19, 2015 my husband passed away. In July 2014 I found out that he had a heredity liver disease. Now the insurance company has requested medical records from all doctors he has seen from 2009-2015 in which he has not because he was recently spent 11 years in federal prison. Do you think they will payout?

  • Evelyn March 23, 2015, 3:54 pm

    Hey, Chris I purchased a $100,000 life insurance policy in the state of Florida from Colonial life for my husband on June 19th and married him on July 25th and he passed away on January 19th, 7 mos after I got the policy. Shortly, after getting married to him I found out that he had liver problem after being injury on a job, and his health started to failed shortly after that. And he started to seeing a specialist in July for and was told that he had to experience this problem at an early age. But on January 19th the cause of my husband death was septic shock, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis. And now Colonial is doing a contestable on the policy. Do you think they will pay because I was totally not aware of this condition?

    • Chris Huntley April 13, 2015, 3:19 am

      Hi Evelyn
      Unfortunately, I cannot speak as to the terms and conditions of a specific company or policy. Each company has their own terms for each type of policy. I also cannot speak as to how a company handles a claim.

  • Jonathan phillips March 28, 2015, 8:05 am

    Chris I have a claim pending with Globe life for a policy on my mother she passed away in febuary 23 of this year from dementia. all papers have been sent in and I am wondering how long to expect a payout, her policy was 2 years and 4 months old when she passed. also since she had not been to a doctor and no signs of the disease when she applied and symptoms showed up after 3 months of the policy being in affect do you see any issues with a payout?and how long should I expect before a check is issued.Thanks

    • Chris Huntley April 29, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Hi Jonathan,
      I’m not a representative with Globe Life. I really have no idea. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Maryann April 7, 2015, 8:12 am

    We took out credit loan insurance on our car loan in June 2013. My husband died of a heart attack December 2014. I filed a claim with the insurance company before the end of December. They asked me to disclose any doctors or hospitals he had been to in the last two years and I gave them that information. I only received two requests from their medical information collecting company, and I returned each one in a timely matter. I have contacted them several times in the last couple weeks, because paying for the car has become a financial burden on my part. Yesterday I called and was told it was under review with the underwriters. The two requests I received were both places my husband had only had interaction with since 2014, and nothing to do with what caused his death. At the time we took out the policy, he had none of the health issues listed on the policy. Are they being thorough because it is within two years that the policy was taken out? Would they need my permission to attain an autopsy report? We did not misrepresent ourselves when we signed the policy. The policy stated in it that in the case of a death claim, they had up to two months. It has now been over three months since I filed the claim.

    • Chris Huntley April 13, 2015, 2:41 am

      Hi Maryann,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I cannot speak as to the terms and conditions of a specific company or policy. Each company has their own terms for each type of policy. I also cannot speak as to how a company handles a claim.

  • Brittany April 27, 2015, 9:53 am

    Hi, my dad passed away 03/15/15 and he had the AARP term rider plus. I noticed on his Statement of Health, he did not put down (in the list all prescription medications you are taking) that he was taking blood pressure medication, they also did not ask if he drank, which he did. Could they deny the life insurance claim because he left out that he was taking blood pressure medication? Thanks.

    • Chris Huntley April 29, 2015, 11:29 am

      I suppose they could, but I’m not saying they will. This is really something to discuss with a legal adviser. Good luck.

      • Brittany May 1, 2015, 10:34 pm

        I was just asking because he died within the 2 year clause, which makes it contestable. I don’t feel like he left it out intentionally for fraudulent purposes, which I feel like they may take it that way just to deny the claim, but thank you for your prompt response and suggestion. Thanks again.

        Best Regards,
        Brittany

  • Cynthia Parkinson April 29, 2015, 2:23 am

    Chris my name is Cynthia ,I know nothing about life insurance and was very upset to find out about the under 2 yr clause.My 60 yr old husband died Feb.19 of this yr of natural causes per death cerf. Pneumonia.We had one policy with New York life for 100,00,000 and another same amount with American National and one for 20,000 with globe life The 2 larger policies were over 12 months old the small one was only a couple months old.My husband made over a 100,000 a yr and we were not married until we were in our early 50,so with no saving we thought as a healthy man we had all the time in the world.We were very honest with all questions.People I have spoken to have all had very neg attitudes about ins. co. and all I have heard is they doubt they will pay. It is now the first of May and I still have nothing.They is very little medical info to get and reveiw He has seen one dr. in last 5 yrs for lower back pain and other than the hospital records were he passed away that,s about it.I am worried since I am sure they pick over this with a fine tooth comb whats going on.I am no medical expert but when the EMT,S came to our home before they left to take him to the hospital they told me he was already in heart and liver failure.Apparently he had no idea how sick he was till the end he thought he was over tired from working to much and might have a flu bug.(he was no fan of hospital,s He died double lobe pneumonia What I am concerned about although the death cerf. says that is what he died from under that statement says other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in underlying cause given in part 1 end stage liver cirrhosis with massive as-sites I don’t understand are they saying the pneumonia caused the cirrhosis of his liver or are they trying to say he had liver cirrhosis but died from pneumonia.If my husband had liver problems he had no idea and had never had problems.The EMT also said he was in heart failure but he had never had a heart problem.My concern is they (the ins. co.) will try to say this was already a problem and then Deni the claim My husband was very honest with all questions on the forms and was never dig noised with any problems Do u think ins. co. will try denial

    • Chris Huntley April 29, 2015, 11:34 am

      I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have valid claims to me. If either of them denies it, be sure to take your policy to an attorney to have them check it out. All your husband could do was answer the application questions truthfully to the best of his knowledge when he bought insurance, and it appears he did so. Say for example, I have cancer but it has never been diagnosed. If I buy life insurance and get approved, and then in 2 months find out i have cancer and die 6 months later, how can the insurance company fault me for this. THIS is why people buy insurance, for the unexpected. Good luck.

  • Mark Williams May 20, 2015, 11:11 am

    Hi, Chris my uncle had a life insurance policy with Guarantee Trust that was over 3 year’s old. He died in may of 2014…. To make a long story short the insurance company said that they seen on his application that he work as a cook and dishwasher but seen in his obituary he was disabled. So they ask for all his medical records and now they send this matter over to South Carolina Attorney General office. It’s been about a year now and still nothing. The funeral home still have not gotten payment. I have a attorney but he’s saying we can’t do nothing until we hear back from the attorney general office. I’ve called and call them but they want give me know information. They keep saying it’s being investigate by sled. I don’t know what else to do.

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