When it comes to high-risk life insurance, surgery is a big hazard that could be fatal if something goes wrong.
Surgery can be scary and is not without risk of human error.
It is normal to wonder how your life insurance company will react if you die during the procedure.
Does life insurance cover a death during a surgery? Yes, your life insurance policy will cover death during surgery. However, accidental death insurance is not as clear and may not cover the surgery.
We get frequent inquiries as high-risk life insurance brokers from clients who are nervous about an upcoming medical procedure.
Our article will outline what you can expect from the life insurance companies when it comes to surgery.
Feel free to jump ahead.
When Does Life Insurance Not Cover a Death During Surgery?
Surgery-related deaths are covered in your life insurance policy unless otherwise stated, so if you already have a life insurance policy, you’re likely covered.
Actually, there are few deaths that life insurance companies will not cover after the contestability period is completed.
Life insurance companies may investigate a claim during the contestability period of the contract, usually the first 24-months of a policy.
If a life insurance company investigates a claim, that doesn’t automatically mean they will contest the death benefit payout.
The contestability clause is standard contract language that all of the best life insurance companies include in their policies to protect against fraud.
Additionally, if you have accidental death insurance, it is not as clear if a surgery-related death is considered “accidental.”
Life insurance companies have argued that surgery is a treatment of the underlying medical condition.
Essentially, some life insurance companies have argued that death during surgery is equivalent to you having a fatal reaction to a medication, and is not necessarily a true accident.
Since this is still a grey area with no standard policy, we would rather not say one way or the other how your accidental death insurance will view death during surgery.
What is the Difference Between Accidental Death Insurance and Life Insurance?
Life insurance and accidental death insurance are similar types of protection.
Both policies will pay a death benefit to your loved ones if you die of an accident.
However, life insurance goes a step further since it covers deaths that are not accidents, such as medically related deaths.
For example, if you die of cancer, life insurance will pay a death claim, but accidental death insurance will not since cancer is a critical illness and not an accident.
Life insurance is typically preferred over accidental death insurance because it covers more types of deaths.
However, accidental death insurance does have a purpose.
Accidents are a leading cause of claims, especially for younger people.
Additionally, if you are unable to get life insurance for a non-medical reason, such as life insurance for felons, accidental death may be your next best option.
Finally, accidental death insurance is valuable coverage for someone who works a hazardous occupation where accidental deaths are a concern to supplement your life insurance affordably.
Do I Need to Disclose Upcoming Surgeries to the Life Insurance Company?
However, if you don’t already have a life insurance policy and have an upcoming surgery, that is a different story.
A recent Johns Hopkins study claims over 250,000 people in the United States die annually from medical errors.
That makes medical errors a leading cause of death and the life insurance companies know it.
Life insurance companies will ask you directly on the application if you have any scheduled medical procedures upcoming, and you need to answer truthfully.
If you do, the life insurance companies will postpone your policy until after the surgery to make sure that everything goes well.
If you lie and die during the surgery, the life insurance company may contest the death benefit, so be honest!
However, this applies to surgeries that you anticipate scheduling or have already scheduled.
Sometimes the unforeseen occurs, and you may need a surgery suddenly and unexpectedly.
You cannot predict the future, but you do need to disclose upcoming surgeries that you already know about when asked on the application.
Postponement ofter also applies to doctor-recommended procedures that you never scheduled.
Life insurance companies hate loose ends.
If your doctor recommends in your medical records that you should get a procedure and you ignore his advice, the life insurance company may postpone your application until all doctor-recommended procedures, tests, and surgeries are completed.
Final Thoughts on if Life Insurance Covers a Death During a Surgery
Life insurance does cover a death during surgery, but you need to plan ahead.
The best time to get life insurance is when you’re young and healthy, not when something is wrong.
If the reason why you want life insurance is that you scheduled an upcoming surgery, then I’m afraid it is too late to get coverage.
Life insurance companies will directly ask you on the application if you have any upcoming medical tests, surgeries, or procedures in the near future, and you must answer truthfully.
If the life insurance company sees that you have an upcoming major surgery, they will postpone your decision until afterward to be sure that everything goes well.
If you misrepresent yourself on the application and die during the surgery, the life insurance may contest your death claim.
Accidental death insurance is a grey area, as well.
The life insurance industry has not yet uniformly agreed on whether a surgical-related death is an accidental death or an adverse effect from medical treatment of the underlying condition.
Having accidental death insurance is better than not having any protection for your family at all, but be aware that this is a grey area in claims.
Thank you for reading our article on if life insurance covers a death during surgery.
If you have any further questions, please contact us.