Learning and how and why life insurance companies do certain things can be tricky. One of those items happens to be the hot topic of the day. Does life insurance cover drug overdose?
Life Insurance is one of the most important financial decisions one can make in a lifetime. It places a financial security blanket around you and your family. It protects assets and provides comfort for those who matter most to you. Some of you are surfing the internet trying to locate the best life insurance companies to choose for protection and some just have complex questions on how life insurance really works.
Whatever your reason may be, at Good Life Protection, we want to bring you the answers. The topic of the day happens to be a complex issue, but we want to bring it to light so you that you, the consumer has the information needed to make an informed decision for you and your families financial futures.
We are going to answer the question does life insurance cover drug overdose?
The Question Remains, Does Life Insurance Cover Drug Overdose?
Yes, life insurance can cover drug overdose. It does not always cover drug overdose, however. Many factors need to be explored before the life insurance company will feel comfortable writing the check for the death benefit.
The Frustration Begins
We understand that this answer can be frustrating to hear, but it’s the truth. We are going to break down what and how the life insurance company can navigate through the death claim process when it comes to a drug overdose to attempt to provide you with an answer that makes a bit more sense for the situation at hand. Let’s start from the very beginning and go through the timeline of activating and placing life insurance coverage in force.
This will help you gain a better understanding on how and why a life insurance company may deny your death claim in the event of a drug overdose.
The Life Insurance Application and How It Works
It all begins with the life insurance application. This is going to be completed either over the phone, online or face to face with the life insurance agent of your choice. Who you work with during this stage is for the most part irrelevant.
During the life insurance application, you will be asked a series of detailed questions. Here’s a brief look at what some of these questions may look like.
Do you engage any dangerous activities such as…
After answering these questions, the next set will be one step deeper. These questions may look like…
So, what’s the point of these questions anyway?
Everything Matters on the Life Insurance Application
These questions matter for several reasons. They can indicate if you live a dangerous lifestyle. Furthermore, they can help assess to the life insurance companies if you should be deemed high risk for your life insurance coverage.
The life insurance company wants to determine your overall risk class and how much of a premium to charge for your coverage that you desire. If the life insurance company just freely issued coverage without checking these factors, they wouldn’t remain solvent or have the reserves and cash flow to pay honest premium payors for very long.
In addition, they need to know if they can even approve your application in the first place. Too much risky behavior and indicators that could show that you have a high probability of passing away. This may cause the life insurance company to deny your life insurance application altogether.
Honesty is Great Starting Point
The first step in determining if life insurance will pay for a drug overdose is beginning the process with complete 100% honesty. All the questions during the initial process are crucial to answering in detail and completely honest.
Honesty during this phase is basically stamping and solidifying the framework to the life insurance policy. When there are no secrets up front, there is nothing to worry about in nearly all circumstances when you meet your maker and if the life insurance company will pay the claim. (yes, some situations exist where they can still deny the claim).
Life insurance companies if rules are followed and honesty is practiced, don’t go through amazing hoops and obstacles to avoid paying death claims. They are happy to pay death claims when no fishy business has occurred.
The 2 Year Contestability Period
The 2-year contestability period is essentially 24 months that keeps the life insurance company able to investigate and poke and prod at the cause of death before paying a life insurance death claim. During this time window, life insurance companies are very careful and investigate the cause of death from many angles.
They can do things such as request an autopsy report, speak to neighbors, family, and friends. The primary goal they are going for in these situations is to find out if you had misstated important information or committed any form of fraud during the application process. This is why honesty is so important during the initial phase of the application process.
A Smoking Example
Let’s assume we aren’t even talking about drug overdose for this situation but we are talking about smoking. If you applied for the life insurance policy and knew that you smoked roughly 10-15 cigarettes per month but told the life insurance company you were a non-smoker and in addition, your blood test showed negative for nicotine.
Now, let’s assume you are diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 3 months after getting the life insurance policy and die 18 months after that. You’re now 21 months into the policy, dead as a doornail and you have a big problem to deal with.
You lied about your tobacco use and you are still in the two-year window where your life insurance can be denied by the life insurance company for direct misrepresentation and possibly even fraud.
Tell the truth during the application process and you have way less to worry about. It’s that simple folks. No need to complicate the easiest part of the process. It’s either you need the life insurance and get it the honest way, or you don’t need it or care enough to get it the correct way.
Back to The Drug Overdose and if The Life Insurance Company Will Pay
Other factors are also important when determining if a drug overdose will be paid by the life insurance company after some individual passes away. It’s also important to find out if the overdose was…
Intentional or Accidental
You could potentially have a scenario where a drug overdose is a completely honest accident. Let’s look at an example of this. Let’s assume you are 31 years old and purchased a life insurance policy to cover your wife and newborn son earlier this year. Let’s assume it’s also now 26 months later and you have been an honest premium paying life insurance policyholder.
Furthermore, let’s throw a best friends bachelor party into the mix. You all get a little crazy, have a few drugs and a wild night except it becomes an accidental overdose. In this situation, you have not
Now, in a situation where the life insurance company has no choice but to pay the claim. They may drag their feet a tad and do some due diligence but, in these situations, your benefit will be paid to your family.
The Importance Of the 2 Year Window (Contestability Clause)
I don’t know how to stress this enough so I’m going to just continue to drive home this point and beat the dead horse. This is not a freebie for the life insurance company not to pay a death claim. If you even die of an honest death during this time, the life insurance company will investigate.
I speak to clients and potential clients all the time that are terrified that if they die during this time frame, there is no way the benefit is being paid and that’s just not true. The only thing the two-year window is permitting is adequate time to investigate and deny the claim if fishy business was used.
Start thinking of the two-year window as a statute of limitations like police use to investigate and stop thinking of the 2-year window as the “window of no money to my family when I die”. That’s not how it works.
Life Insurance Companies Want to Pay the Claim but Not to Fraudsters
Life Insurance companies have a street credit to maintain as well. They don’t want the negative publicity for leaving a family financially burdened during the biggest time of the need. They want the reputation of helping that family in need and gaining more customers and policyholders over the long term.
However, I’ve never seen nor heard of a case where the life insurance companies want to or will pay a claim in the event of any of the possible fraud and misrepresentations situations that arise during those two years. Heck, even suicide is covered in most situations after the first two years have passed for the policyholder.
This just goes to show that life insurance companies pay for many forms of death. Just not when they are deliberately lied to during the initial process or a breach of contract has clearly occurred.
Intentional Drug Overdose
This is the opposite of the scenario we just covered. In these situations, it’s going to be very seldom you see life insurance companies paying a claim during the first two years of the policy. If it’s past the two-year window when the intentional drug overdose happens it’s going to depend on several things if the life insurance company ultimately pays the death claim.
It’s important in these situations to read all the fine print in the policy and learn about “self-inflicted deaths” and how your company handles that situation when it arises. The more you know ahead of time, the better.
Let’s try and simplify this entire post into some easier to understand phrasing just to make it all button up a bit better. Start the application on the premise of telling the truth about everything.
Anything and everything that seems relevant. If I came to you and asked for 2,000,000 in the event of death out of your pocket, what questions would you want to know about me before making that deal? Anything that seems like it would be important in that situation probably is.
If this is the practice you use going into the policy when it begins, the chances of other forms of death that arise and are investigated, won’t pose nearly as many issues for you and once you are out of the 2-year window, you won’t have anything to worry about.
You informed the company of everything that’s important about your health, you paid your premiums on time every month and now if something happens, you are almost guaranteed to be covered. Pretty simple when you break it down like that.
So, At the End of the Day, Does Life Insurance Cover Drug Overdose?
Again, yes. Life Insurance can cover drug overdose but if you’re in that two-year window or you have been misrepresenting information or health conditions, your family will have a hell of a time collecting the proceeds. Let’s also clarify one more point. I’m not a lawyer. If you are currently trying to battle a death claim with a life insurance company, you need this post and a lawyer.
A good way to avoid all of this is just to be 100% transparent at the beginning of the process, read over your policy as much as possible and speak to your agent when you have questions. It’s why we exist. To help you understand your life insurance policy and protect your family.
Have you had a death claim denied by a life insurance company in the past? Any experience related to drug overdose and death claims? If so, drop a comment below.
Thanks for reading. We appreciate you.
Josh Martin is the founder of Good Life Protection. He began his career as a captive Agent working for New York Life Insurance Company. After continued education and designations, Josh founded Good Life Protection to provide consumers with more options and insurance that truly fits into your budget and health classification.