What Kind of Deaths Are Not Covered In A Term Life Insurance Policy?

Term life insurance is an affordable way to provide your family with years of coverage in the event of a tragic loss. However, not all deaths will necessarily be covered by the insurance provider. Thisarticle will review several scenarios that will not qualify for a death benefit under term life insurance.

7 Deaths Term Life Insurance doesn’t cover

If you or a loved one passes away under the following circumstances, your claim will most likely be denied by the term life insurance provider.

Deaths Term Life Insurance doesn't cover

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you pass away from a pre-existing condition that was not disclosed at the time of the application, this can lead to a denial of the death benefit. Before an insurance company issues a policy, they must be made aware of your complete medical history.

Never try to withhold the details of your health conditions. If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to qualify for life insurance, there are other types of policies you can purchase that don’t require medical exams or health screenings.

Extreme Hobbies

If you’readventurous, like a rock climber or airplane pilot, you may lead an exhilarating lifestyle. However, from the insurance company’s perspective, extreme hobbies like these are considered reckless and a voluntary endangerment of your life. Therefore, if your death results from one of these activities, it most likely won’t be covered.

Immediate Suicide

Although suicide is a circumstance covered by most term life insurance policies, there is usually a clause in effect for the first one or two years. This is intended to protect the insurance company so that the insured doesn’t acquire insurance solely to end their lifein an attempt to force financial gain for their beneficiaries. It should be noted that unintentional deaths, such as accidental drug overdose, can also be considered suicide.


If the insured dies as the result of a homicide by one of their beneficiaries (either directly or indirectly through the use of a third party), then the death benefit will definitely be withheld by the insurance company. This is a clause known as the “slayer rule.” In this circumstance, the insurance company will most likely pay your death benefit to your contingent beneficiaries who were not involved or your estate.

Criminal Activity

If your death was the result of engagement in criminal activity or other illegal actions, then the insurance provider will not pay the claim. Your beneficiaries would have to prove that you were innocent or seek a court judgment.

Expired Policies

If the policy were allowed to expire or lapse because of nonpayment, this would also result in nonpayment of the death benefit. This is because the contract will legally no longer be in effect.


If at any time you lied to or misled the insurance company, then they would have grounds to deny the death benefit to your beneficiaries. The best thing you can do is always be forthcoming and transparent regarding life insurance.

The Bottom Line

Not all deaths will be covered by life insurance. Ones where you knowingly put yourself in danger (such as criminal activity or extreme sports), and instances where information was withheld or misleading can all constitute a denial of a payout to your beneficiaries. The best policy is always to be forthcoming with the insurance company.

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About the author

Ashley Judd

My name is Ashley Judd, I’m 27 years old, I’m currently studying MA Accounting and Finance (yes I love numbers) at university in Nottingham. I write down all my thoughts and perceptions and to ramble on about anything and everything.

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