What Is Not Covered By Life Insurance?

By design, life insurance offers financial security to the beneficiaries of an insured party following their demise. However, the death benefits are not always guaranteed even if the policyholder is up to date in the payment of the premiums. In short, some things can hinder cover including the nature of your death, situations surrounding it, non-disclosure of important details, among others.

Below we discuss the limits of life insurance by explaining the death cases that the policies don’t cover. Let’s get to it:

What Is Not Covered By Life Insurance?

Murder of the insured

When the death of the insured arises from engagement in criminal activities, the life insurance provider has the right to withhold the death benefits indefinitely. However, there are exceptions to this rule, which include:

  • Dropping of murder charges against the insured following acquittal

    If the court determines that the policyholder was not guilty of criminal charges leading to his/her death, the life insurance company has to release the death benefits.

  • When death is out of natural causes

    Even if the insured has a criminal background and his/her murder is unrelated to crime, the nominee can get the claim from the insurer.

Drug abuse deaths

If an insured dies from causes related to drug abuse, the insurer has the right to reject the claim. For instance, if you drive under the influence of alcohol, cause an accident and die, your insurance provider might bar your nominees from claiming your death benefits.

Death from participation in an undeclared dangerous activity

When filling the proposal form for life insurance, you must disclose all the activities that you engage in. With that, your insurer can then correctly assess the kind of hazards that exist in your hobbies, workplace, or other environments that you frequent.

Your life insurance policy will therefore not cover death arising from participation in undeclared yet hazardous activities. The insurer considers such non-disclosure as material misrepresentation thus has no legal obligation to honor the claim by your nominees.

Death from pre-existing medical conditions

If you have an underlying medical condition that existed before the life insurance application, you must notify the insurer. Often, your provider will ask that you produce a medical report to assess the seriousness of your health status.

If you choose to hide your pre-existing medical condition by maybe falsifying the medical documents, you could end up paying lower premiums. However, you risk losing your death benefits because non-disclosure is a defense that your provider can use to deny the claim. Applicability of this comes especially in situations where your pre-existing condition is the cause of your death.

Suicidal deaths

If you commit suicide before one year lapses from when you applied a life insurance policy, your provider might reject your nominees the death benefits. Normally, coverage contestability becomes valid from the second year after purchasing a life policy.

However, for this type of death, the cover even from the second year is dependent on your life insurance provider. Not all offer death benefits as suicide is considered a self-inflicted injury to life.

Death during an act of war

An insurer can withhold death benefits when a policyholder dies while engaged in an act of war. Usually, this occurs when you die in countries that pose serious threats to human life. The terms and conditions of your policy might limit cover to specific geographical locations. So, if death occurs outside these regions, the death benefits become invalid.


Always read that fine print in your life insurance proposal form to ensure you get the specific details about the contract. Discuss thoroughly the policy with the provider to be aware of all the limitations that exist. That’s the safest way to know what’s not covered by life insurance and take appropriate actions.

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FG Editorial Team
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