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It’s not the easiest topic to discuss, but it’s a question that comes up: does life insurance cover suicide? Here, we’ll answer this question and direct you to some of the life insurance providers we like best.
Quick Answer: Life Insurance and Suicide
Does life insurance cover suicide? In short, it can, but sometimes, it doesn’t. Life insurance covers the policyholder for most all events, even suicide. However, there are many other routes to explore before looking into this option.
Mental Health Resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please use the following resources to get help and talk to someone you can trust.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Life insurance does cover suicide but only after the first 2 years of holding the policy.
- Death benefits may not be paid out for policyholders who don’t disclose all mental health issues.
- Some policies require a 3-year waiting period for suicide.
Life Insurance Suicide Clause
Some life insurance policies have a suicide clause. A life insurance suicide clause states that within the first 2 years of signing the contract, if the policyholder dies from a self-inflicted wound, then the contract is void. If the policyholder does commit suicide within that initial 2-year period, premiums are refunded and any cash value returned, minus fees.
What Is Life Insurance?
Life insurance states that the policyholder, that’s you, agrees to pay monthly payments, known as premiums, to an insurance company. In return, the insurance company agrees to a predetermined payout upon death of the policyholder.
Types of Life Insurance Explained
The 2 basic types of insurance are term and permanent. Permanent insurance policies like whole life and universal are considered permanent because they last for the duration of your life. Term life lasts for a predetermined period of time. When the policy runs its course, coverage is terminated.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is more expensive than term. Unlike term life, however, you face no cancellation date. A whole life policy lasts your whole life.
Whole life insurance policies offer:
- Cash value
- Loan opportunities
- Consistent premiums
- Paid-in-full policies
- Whole life coverage
Term Life Insurance
Term is much cheaper than whole or universal life because it has no cash value. With term, if you outlive the policy, the insurance company keeps all your premiums.
Term life policies offer:
- Lower premiums
- Predetermined period
- Greater death benefit
- No medical exam
- Less paperwork
Life Insurance and Suicidal Ideation
The life insurance suicide clause is common to most insurance coverage, including permanent policies like whole and universal life as well as term life. Typically covering a duration of 2 years (sometimes 3), it states that if the policyholder takes their own life within the initial time frame, the death benefit does not get paid. This clause is to stop any would-be policyholders from buying coverage with the explicit intent of cashing it in immediately.
Life Insurance and Mental Health
When applying for a life insurance policy, you’re required to list all your pre-existing conditions, like cancer. But what about your mental health conditions? Do you have to disclose these as well?
Just like with any health condition, you must disclose a mental health disorder. This requirement includes all ailments and diagnoses. What happens if you don’t? In the case of mentally induced death, like suicide, your claim may be denied should you pass away.
How to Compare Life Insurance
It’s just as important to consider rates as it is the amount of the death benefit. If you’ve got the stamina, check out as many insurance companies as you can. If you’re more in a hurry, you can access great websites out there that do the comparisons for you.
When comparing life insurance policies, look for:
- Lowest rates
- Highest death benefit
- Duration of policy
- Permanent vs. term
- Paid-in-full option
- securely through Ladder Life Insurance's websiteBest For:Adjustable coverage
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers – for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products. Coverage amounts vary by state.
- Best For:Under Age 64
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC21 Haven Term in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company (C.M. Life), Enfield, CT 06082. In New York (DTC-NY) and California (DTC-CA), it is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001.
How to Buy Life Insurance
Unless you like being on the phone all day with every insurance agent in town, the best way to buy insurance these days is online. Even if you like the comfort of a trusting voice, or have questions, the best way to go about it is to first do a search on the internet. Find out all the information you can, including the lowest rates. Use a website that does the comparisons for you.
Best Life Insurance Providers
You can find many great life insurance providers. Here is a short list of just a few of the best ones.
Best for Affordable Rates: Lemonade
Lemonade offers the cheapest rates in the industry because they do it all digitally. No agents means the savings gets passed onto the customer. What makes Lemonade so affordable is that it’s a full-stack insurance carrier. Lemonade offers a flat fee instead of expensive cost overrides, This feature means no conflict with the customer.
Lemonade offers term life as well as pet insurance. Its 100% digital interface means not only handling quotes but paying out claims in just minutes. Lemonade keeps rates cheap by offering only to adults ages 21 to 55. Policies are for terms of 10 to 20 years and do not require a medical exam. The Lemonade maximum life insurance policy is $1 million.
- Low rates
- Flat fee
- No medical exam
- Term life only
- Not rated by Moody’s or AM Best
- Complaint index above the national average
AM Best Rating: Not rated by AM Best, but receives an A rating from Demotech
Moody’s Rating: Not rated
Best for Price Comparison: Policygenius
Policygenius is a price comparison website that does all the work for you. It offers as much as 50% off the policies it finds — deals you can’t get anywhere else. The website even has licensed insurance agents on hand to answer all your questions.
With more than 1 million customers in all 50 states, Policygenius has placed more than $60 billion in coverage. But Policygenius is more than just a price-comparison destination. The site also publishes informative articles as well as online favorites like its insurance check-up tool and rate calculator. With Policygenius, you get your personalized quote in minutes.
- Best price comparisons
- Live help
- Quotes in seconds
- Slow for digital use
- Limited partnerships
- Lengthy closing process
AM Best Rating: Not rated
Moody’s Rating: Not rated
Best for Accessibility: Pacific Life
Founded in 1868, Pacific Life offers all types of insurance products, including whole, term and universal life. The company is licensed to sell insurance in all 50 states except New York, making it accessible to most all Americans. For customer service, Pacific Life receives above-average ranking consistently from J.D. Powers.
Pacific Life offers term life policies in periods of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years You can renew your policy annually, although rate increases will apply. The company also offers variable insurance products including survivorship insurance and long-term care. Whole life policies are offered through workplace plans only. Distributed by Pacific Select Distributors, LLC, Pacific Life has one of the best reputations in the industry with more than $191 billion in managed assets.
- Competitive rates
- High ratings
- Sterling reputation
- Slow underwriting
- No digital quote system
- Application process burdensome
AM Best Rating: A+
Moody’s Rating: Aa3
Best for Institutional Backing: Haven Life
Haven Life serves its customers by simplifying and streamlining the life insurance process. With Haven Life, you’ll be approved in minutes with no medical exams. Haven Life offers term life insurance, the cheapest in the industry. With coverage ranging from $100,000 to $3 million, term coverage includes periods ranging from 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.
Haven Life Plus even offers a rider that delivers additional perks such as will services, on-demand fitness workouts and pharmacy discounts. Owned by MassMutual, one of the oldest and best known insurance companies in America, Haven Life adds solid institutional backing to its digital platform. With revenue of $29.6 billion, its assets under management total $567 billion.
- Quick approval
- Competitive rates
- Customer service
- $2 million coverage limit
- Not good for pre-existing conditions
- Not good for seniors
AM Best Rating: (MassMutual) A++
Moody’s Rating: (MassMutual) Aa3
Life Insurance and Mental Health
If you need life insurance but have suicidal thoughts, you need to talk to someone before you worry about getting your family coverage. Try one of the resources listed above, or talk to trusted people you know. If you buy a life insurance policy then wind up killing yourself soon after, your loved ones will not be covered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.
About Philip Loyd, Licensed Insurance Agent
Loyd has written for Forbes.com, Red News Real Estate, Therapist.com, IRA.com, McGraw Hill, TheStreet.com, WikiHow, GOBankingRates.com, S.R. Education, Society of Petroleum Engineers and BioTech Fortunes. He is a licensed insurance agent and financial advisor with both his series 6 and 7 certifications.