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Do My Children Get My Life Insurance coverage if I Didn’t Disclose Terminal Sickness?


Pricey Penny,

I’ve a life insurance coverage coverage price $1.5 million with my two children as beneficiaries. I’ve a degenerative illness known as Spinocerebellar Ataxia Kind One, which was recognized one yr earlier than I purchased the coverage. It’s a uncommon situation that’s not well-known. 

The illness can have me bedridden on the finish of it. After I go away, will the corporate pay the loss of life profit? Or maintain it again as I handed away as a result of a degenerative illness? So far as I bear in mind, there was no place to point Ataxia on the signup type. There have been questions on a number of sclerosis, which is best recognized. 

I need to discontinue the coverage if there isn’t a profit to it. I used to be recognized in 2014 and acquired the coverage in 2015. 

-Determined Single Mother

Pricey Determined,

I can’t promise you with 100% certainty that your coverage can pay the loss of life profit. However in all chance, your children will get that cash with out concern.

For starters, it’s truly fairly uncommon for insurers to delay life insurance coverage claims or deny them altogether. In 2019, life insurance coverage firms disputed about $600 million price of latest claims, in accordance with the American Council of Life Insurers. That quantities to lower than 1% of the $78 billion paid out to beneficiaries in the identical yr.


A denial is most definitely to happen when somebody dies inside the two-year contestability interval that’s sometimes in impact from the time you receive your coverage. Principally, in the event you die inside that two-year window, the insurer can examine your software for “materials misrepresentation.”

That would embody blatant falsehoods on an software, like mendacity a couple of most cancers prognosis or a drunken driving conviction, or saying you’re employed a desk job while you actually have a harmful occupation. However materials misrepresentations also can outcome from trustworthy errors. Some individuals fail to say a prescription or process they’d years in the past on the appliance, just because they forgot it.

The corporate can deny the declare in the event you die through the contestability interval and it finds proof of fabric misinformation, even when your loss of life had nothing to do with the data you did not disclose. In case you lied a couple of most cancers prognosis, then died from being struck by lightning, they might nonetheless deny your declare. The overwhelming majority of claims will nonetheless be paid out when somebody dies inside the contestability interval. It’s simply that the insurer will sometimes give them a bit extra scrutiny.

In your case, clearly, the two-year contestability interval has lengthy since handed. It might be extremely uncommon for an insurer to analyze your declare within the circumstances you describe. However it could actually nonetheless occur if the corporate suspects fraud.

“A life insurance coverage provider may technically deny a declare after the contestability interval in the event that they suspected the insured dedicated insurance coverage fraud, or if the insured willfully offered misstatements on the appliance,” mentioned Jason Veirs, president and proprietor of Insurance coverage Consultants Options Inc., a San Diego-based insurance coverage brokerage.

Your scenario is difficult. Regardless that the appliance didn’t ask particularly about your illness, it most likely did embody questions the place you had been anticipated to reveal any circumstances not talked about.

Most purposes embody detailed questions like, “Have you ever ever been handled or advised by a member of the medical occupation that you’ve got hypertension, coronary heart points or joint points?” or catch-all questions like, “Aside from what you’ve gotten already disclosed, within the final 5 years, have you ever consulted or been handled by one other practitioner or doctor, or obtained another remedy which wasn’t disclosed?”

“Most of those questions will suss out any type of well being historical past on the appliance,” Veirs mentioned.

Once more, it might be uncommon to your beneficiaries’ declare to be denied given how a lot time has elapsed for the reason that coverage was issued. You’ve spent years paying the premiums on this coverage. It’s very probably that your children will get your loss of life profit.

In case you’re OK with these odds, you’ll be able to hold paying the premiums on the coverage, understanding your cash most likely isn’t going to waste. It’s particularly vital, although, that you just don’t let the coverage lapse. If the coverage lapses and also you reinstate it, you’d set off a brand new two-year contestability window.

The large query it’s essential ask your self is: Would having the cash you’re spending on premiums make life simpler proper now? I ask since you signed your letter as “Determined Single Mother.” In case you’re struggling proper now and your children are grown and self-sufficient, chances are you’ll not want life insurance coverage in any respect. The aim of insurance coverage is to guard in opposition to a monetary loss. It’s OK to resolve that you just want cash in your pocket now greater than your youngsters want a life insurance coverage payout sometime.

My final piece of recommendation isn’t for you, Letter Author, since we are able to’t flip again time. However for any readers who’re purchasing for a life insurance coverage coverage: It could be tempting to not disclose a prognosis in your software, notably in the event you’re confused about whether or not it’s mandatory. Nevertheless it’s in your greatest curiosity to err on the facet of disclosure.

The aim of shopping for life insurance coverage is to guard your loved ones financially. Be sure to know with certainty whether or not the coverage you’re shopping for will truly afford safety.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your tough cash inquiries to [email protected].


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