Affordable Life Insurance Protection for Your Family

Does Life Insurance Pay If You Die Of Natural Causes?

If you are considering the purchase of a life insurance policy, or you already have one, you may be wondering if life insurance does pay out a death benefit should you pass away from natural causes.

The answer is "Yes"

Life insurance is meant to provide a lump sum to your beneficiaries in the event of your death from natural causes, accidents and most diseases.

The natural death or caused by health-related issues is covered by term life insurance plans. In case the policyholder dies due to any type of critical illness or medical condition, the beneficiary of the policy will get the sum assured as the death benefit.


Life Insurance Explained


Life insurance is a contract between the owner of the insurance policy (insurance policy holder) and a life insurance company, where the life insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (death benefit) in exchange for a premium paid to the insurance carrier, upon the death of an insured person. 

Depending on the life insurance contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment to the insured person by the insurance company. 

The policy holder typically pays a premium, either regularly or as one lump sum.

Other expenses, such as funeral expenses, can also be included in the benefits paid out on a life insurance policy.


Exclusions to Life Insurance


Here are Some Common Exclusions to Life Insurance:

  • Suicide - Most life insurance policies list suicide as an exclusion, if it occurs within the first two years of being insured (one year in some states). Insurance companies will typically not pay out a death benefit if the insured person commits suicide within two years after the purchase of the life policy. However, beneficiaries may receive a refund of the premiums that have been paid, plus interest, depending on the insurer.
  • Act of War - This "common" life insurance exclusion isn't as common as it was before the 1970s, but you should still check your policy to see if it is included. This exclusion means that if your death is the result of war, the life insurance company may not pay out the death benefit on the policy. 
  • Dangerous Activity - Some life insurance policies include dangerous activities in their list of exclusions. Dangerous activities can include anything from rock climbing to SCUBA diving to hang gliding, or race car driving. 
  • Illegal Activity - Most insurance carriers also include illegal activities on their life of exclusions. This means that if you die while doing an illegal activity, your insurance policy may not pay out the death benefit to your beneficiary. You might automatically assume that this exclusion is referring to illegal drugs or alcohol, but your beneficiaries could also be in trouble if you die in a car accident while speeding or not wearing a seat belt in a state where wearing your seat belt is the law. 
  • Aviation - Usually, insurers may not pay out a death benefit if you die in a private plane crash. However, most (if not all) life insurers may pay out your death benefit if you die in a commercial plane crash.

Not all life insurance policies have the same exclusions.


Other Types of Life Insurance Exclusions:

  • Material Misrepresentation - This is similar to the contestable period but lasts for the entire term of your life insurance policy. Basically, if you withheld information or misrepresented yourself in order to get approved for a policy and the insurance company finds out, they can cancel your insurance policy at any time. 
  • Misstatement of Age - If you lie about your age to your life insurance policy provider, they may not pay out your death benefit when you die. 
  • Contestable Period - Most insurance policies have a contestable period in which they can view the underwriting of the policy and determine whether or not information was misrepresented or withheld. If they find something, they may not have to pay out the death benefit. This contestable period may be the first two years you are insured.

Each life insurance carrier has their own approach to how they assess a risk for life insurance and how they manage that risk by applying specific exclusions to a life insurance policy.

Some insurers will apply an exclusion to your policy to exclude death resulting from a specific type of risk the insurer does not wish to insure.

For example, if you are a professional race car driver, the insurance company may exclude death resulting from any professional racing activities.


NOTE: If you have questions about what is or is not covered as a cause of death for your life insurance coverage, make sure you call your life insurance agent and/or insurance company and request their response in writing. Keep the information in your file with your life insurance policy.



Yes, life insurance does pay out the death benefit if you die of natural causes. 

Life insurance covers death resulting from natural causes, old age, most diseases and accidental death. However, review the exclusions section of your life insurance policy to verify what is and is not a covered cause of death.


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Does Life Insurance Pay If You Die Of Natural Causes?

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