Contestability period in life insurance

The contestability period in the life insurance policy is the time frame in which insurers can contest or question the claim raised by the beneficiaries. This period starts from the day when your policy goes into effect and usually lasts for two years. This clause gives insurers the right to deny or cancel a claim made before the completion of two years from the policy date. Here for your better understanding, we have explained this concept in detail-

Things you should know about the contestability period-

Lying on your application has consequences

When you apply for a life insurance policy, be upfront about everything from your health, medical history, and your hobbies and lifestyle. If you lie on your life insurance application, you are putting your beneficiary's payout at risk. You have nothing to worry about if you were honest while filing your application form.

The insurer will have to pay the death benefit if everything is in place

Life insurers can investigate the claim made during the contestability period to make sure the underwriting decision was based on accurate information. If they found everything is correct and in order, then they will have to pay up even if you die an hour after the life insurance policy goes into effect.

You can get in trouble if you commit fraud and live beyond the contestability period

If you lied on your application and live for more than two years after the policy goes into effect. Your insurer can still pursue legal action on you later after finding any fraud. They can even cancel/deny your policy.

The contestability period is different from the suicide clause

Almost every life insurance policy has a suicide clause. People often get confused between the contestability period and the suicide clause, but the two are separate issues. Under the suicide clause, the life insurer will not pay the death benefit and will return premiums if the insured commits suicide within the first two years of the policy. If the policyholder commits suicide after the two years have passed, the insurer will have to pay the death benefit.

Your family may have to wait longer for the money if you die during the contestability period

Life insurers do not investigate every claim during the contestability period. For example, an insurer probably would not investigate a claim when the insured had died due to a car accident. But the company will likely investigate a claim if the insured dies of a health-related cause such as a non-smoker who died from lung cancer. The payment of the death benefit in such cases will be delayed if there is an investigation. But if there was no wrongdoing, the insurance company will owe the beneficiary interest on the death benefit once payment is made.

Bottom Line

The contestability period is in place to protect the insurers against fraud. While it sounds intimidating, it only affects you and your beneficiaries if you lie/misrepresent something on your application. If you are transparent with your insurer when you apply for the policy, your loved ones will receive the full payout when you are not there.