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What is an Incontestable Period in Life Insurance?
The incontestability period is the period when the life insurance company can no longer "Contest" the coverage provided by a life insurance policy.
In addition, the Contestability Period is the period where the insurance carrier has the right to deny coverage or void the insurance policy for wrong statements (material misrepresentations) provided by the insured on the application for coverage.
When life insurance is purchased, the contestability period starts the first day the policy begins providing coverage as stated on the Declaration Page of the insurance policy.
Duration of Contestability Period: Usually 2 or 3 years.
The Incontestability Clause is a Policy Provision stated in a life insurance policy.
The incontestability clause protects the life insurance policyholder from having any of their insurance benefits contested by the insurance company due to any misrepresentation or misstatement on the application for coverage, or any false information provided by the applicant.
For example, if you have had a cancer or serious health issue; such as, a heart attack, but did not disclose it to the insurance company and they discover it, once a certain amount of time has passed, usually two years, they cannot change your life insurance benefits or premiums.
This is why they are usually very stringent about requiring a health examination and medical history report on the applicant for insurance.
NOTE: It’s very important to answer all questions truthfully when you apply for a life insurance policy. If it is discovered you lied about your past health history, your coverage can be cancelled, or worse, a death benefit payout may be denied after you have died, if the death occurs within the first two years you are insured, and the material misrepresentation is determined to be the cause of death.
Definition: Incontestability Clause. noun. in·con·tes·ta·bil·i·ty clause | \ˌin-kən-ˌtes-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē-\. : a clause in an insurance policy that forbids the insurer from disputing the policy (as on the ground that the insured made false statements) after a set period of time.
What is an Incontestability Clause?
An incontestability clause in most life insurance policies prevents the life insurer from voiding your life insurance coverage due to a misstatement by you (the applicant/insured) after a specific amount of time has passed.
A typical incontestability clause specifies that an insurance contract will not be voidable after two or three years due to any misstatement by the insured.
Incontestability clauses help protect the insured person from insurance companies who may try to avoid paying out any death benefits on the policy in the event of a claim.
While this insurance policy provision does benefit the insured, it does not protect the insured against outright fraud.
Do All Life Insurance Policies Include Incontestability?
Yes, this is a standard provision in most insurance policies that provide life insurance coverage.
Most incontestability clauses include a provision stating that the two or three year period that covers the contestability period must be completed within the lifetime of the policyholder.
If you are unsure if your life insurance policy includes an incontestability clause, contact your insurance agent or your life insurance carrier to verify if the clause is stated in the provisions section of your policy.
What is the Difference Between Incontestability and Contestability Period?
The Incontestability Period is the period when the insurance provider can no longer "Contest" coverage.
However, the Contestability Period is the period where the insurer has the right to void the insurance policy or deny coverage for wrong statements provided by the insured on the application.
How Incontestability Clauses Help Consumers
Mistakes or misstatements are easy to make when applying for a life insurance policy.
A life insurance carrier will usually require a complete medical history report from your existing and previous doctors, before the policy is approved.
If an applicant for life insurance forgets even one detail about their health history, the insurer has potential grounds to deny paying out any life insurance death benefits.
The clock starts on the Contestability Period as soon as a life insurance policy is purchased. If, after two years, the insurance company hasn't found any errors in the original application for life insurance, benefits are assured.
What's an Incontestability Clause?
It's a consumer protection that prevents insurance carriers from ending coverage due to a misstatement by the insured after 2 (or 3) years have passed.
Common Exceptions to the Incontestability Clause
Learn more about life insurance term, conditions, exclusions and provisions.
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