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Does life insurance payout for suicide?

Most people would not usually think to find out whether their life insurance policy pays out for suicide. The fact is that almost all standard life insurance policies will pay out for claims from suicide after an initial qualifying period.

Here we look at what the rules are around claims for suicide from a life insurance policy in the UK. Even though this is an incredibly difficult subject to discuss for most, unfortunately, it is a valid question.

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60-Second Summary – Does Life Insurance Pay Out For Suicide?

People often don’t think to ask if their life insurance policy will pay out for suicide or they assume that it won’t. In fact, all life insurance policies will pay out for suicidal death after an initial waiting period (usually 12 months).

  • Most UK life insurance policies will include a ‘suicidal death clause’ which states the terms and conditions for payment of a life insurance claim due to suicide.
  • UK life insurance providers will often ask questions about mental health during the application process, and some insurers will work better than others for people who have mental health conditions.
  • You may be able to get life insurance cover now, even if you have been declined in the past due to your mental health. The easiest way to do this will usually be best to speak to a mental health life insurance expert who will know which providers will work best for you.
  • Our team are proud to be specialists in mental health life insurance and will always work hard to be sensitive and supportive throughout the whole application process.

What is a suicidal death clause and how does it work?

What does a suicidal death clause do?

An image of a person sat on the floor with their head in their hands and the caption ‘Does Life Insurance pay out for Suicide? Our FREE guide to Life Insurance and rules for Suicide’

How long would I not be covered under a suicidal death clause?

Will my life cover payout for suicidal death after the exclusion period?

The short answer is, yes. After the initial exclusion period of 12 or 24 months, you’ll be fully covered under most life insurance policies in the UK. If a claim is raised for suicide then the insurer may ask for medical evidence or a hospital report.

What are the main life insurance providers in the UK that cover suicide?

Below is a table of the Top 10 insurers that payout for suicide and the terms of the suicide clause:

Insurance providerSuicide coverInitial period for when suicide is not covered
Aegon*Yes12 months from the policy start date
AIG**Yes12 months from the policy start date
AvivaYes12 months from the policy start date
Beagle StreetYes12 months from the policy start date
Legal & GeneralYes12 months from the policy start date
LV=Yes12 months from the policy start date
Royal LondonYes12 months from the policy start date
Scottish WidowsYes12 months from the policy start date
VitalityYes12 months from the policy start date
ZurichYes12 months from the policy start date

*Aegon no longer accepts new life insurance applications and existing policies will be moved to Royal London in 2024.

**AIG Life has been bought by Aviva as of September 2023.

Can I get life insurance if I suffer from a mental disorder?

Life insurance applications have changed dramatically over the past several years for mental health. Modern versions of the life insurance application form will ask a set of standard questions about mental health, suicide, and/or self-harm.

This is mainly due to the number of claims that have been paid in recent years due to suicide, and the prevalence of mental health.

You might be asked a number of questions about your mental health and to provide information about any personal issues. We appreciate that this can be incredibly difficult for people to answer in some situations but it’s important to let your insurer know about it.

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What questions will I be asked about my mental health?

When you speak to one of our advisers, you’ll be asked questions about mental health, self-harm, and suicide.

Some of the questions that might be asked:

  • Have you ever harmed yourself or thought about harming yourself?
  • What type of mental disorder you suffer from
  • Have you ever been referred to a specialist or admitted to a hospital?
  • What type of medication/treatment do you receive?
  • When were you diagnosed with the mental disorder?
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It may be possible in a lot of cases to get life cover if you’ve previously attempted suicide or self-harmed. There are some insurers who are more sympathetic than others to people who’ve had previous more severe problems connected to mental health.

There are a number of potential things to consider if you’ve had severe mental health symptoms or issues. It’s often better to speak to an expert, who can guide you because specialist advisors will:

  • Understand your needs and circumstances
  • Be able to find the fairest price and the best cover
  • Be sympathetic to your needs
  • Know which insurers are best for your situation/history

If you need advice or help with life insurance and have mental health issues then you can contact our experts on 0800 009 6559.

How are life insurance claims assessed if someone has died from suicide?

Every insurance provider will assess life insurance claims slightly differently no matter the circumstances. If it is believed that a policyholder died from suicide, any insurance provider will usually need further medical information.

Don’t worry the cause of death shouldn’t normally cause any major issues with the policy paying out, it just may result in some extra questions and investigations. In some cases the insurer may ask for a post-mortem examination to check whether suicide was the official cause of death.


Will mental health conditions affect life insurance claims?

Life insurance applications have changed dramatically over the past several years for mental health. Modern versions of the life insurance application form will ask a set of standard questions about mental health, suicide, and/or self-harm.

We appreciate that this can be incredibly difficult for people to answer in some situations but it’s important to let your insurer know about it.

If you don’t mention relevant health information when you apply, this can cause problems later on. The insurer may even refuse to pay out on your policy, which is the last thing that anyone would want.


Is suicide covered by life insurance?

YES – Often, people wrongly assume life insurance won’t cover or pay out for suicide.

Suicide will be covered within most life insurance policies. Many will however include a suicidal death clause. This usually excludes suicide as a reason to claim within the first 12-24 months of the policy.

There are certain health conditions that are believed to increase the chances of suicidal thoughts/attempts. These are generally mental health conditions, though as we all know our physical health can affect our mental health too. Of course, this won’t be the case for everyone with these conditions and if you feel like you are struggling it is important to talk to someone for support.

Suicide prevention and support in the UK

Many UK organisations work hard to support people struggling with their mental health. If you are experiencing mental health issues and/or suicidal thoughts, you can contact any of the services or charities below. There are also range of online courses and services available that can help you with training and resources that could save someone’s life.

Zero Suicide Alliance

The Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is an NHS funded support service that works to improve education and support around suicide prevention.

They offer completely free online training and resources for individuals and businesses to try and raise awareness of the impact fo suicide and ways we can help to prevent it.

Contact details

Online resources – Zero Suicide Alliance – Free training courses
Important contact numbers – Zero Suicide Alliance – Urgent help

Follow Zero Suicide Alliance

Samaritans

Samaritans is one of the biggest and best known UK charities supporting people struggling with their mental health. They offer 24/7 free support services with a lot of different ways to contact them, so you can choose what is most comfortable for you.

Contact details

Telephone (Call) – (Freephone) 116 123
Email – jo@samaritans.org (can take longer to get a response)
Online – Online chat is not currently working but is something Samaritans are working to improve
Post – Freepost,
SAMARITANS LETTERS

Follow Samaritans

PAPYRUS

PAPYRUS UK (Prevention Of Young Suicide) is a charity set up to support people in the UK under age 35 who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. Their 24/7 ‘HOPELINE’ is available at any time of day or night and they also provide helpful online guides and resources.

Contact details

Telephone (Call) – 0800 068 4141
Telephone (Text) – 07860 039 967
Email – pat@papyrus-uk.org

Follow PAPYRUS

CALM

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) offers mental health support services between 5PM and Midnight, 7 days a week for anyone over the age of 15. They offer guidance and support around mental health and suicide to support people across the UK.

Contact details

Telephone – 0800 58 58 58
Online – Online live chat is available after 5PM on the CALM website

Follow CALM

It is possible that you might have previously applied for life cover, but were declined because of your mental health. It’s also very possible that a specialist or expert can still get cover for you.

Also, there are a number of reasons why cover may now be available where it wasn’t previously:

  • Change in underwriting
  • Applied to the wrong insurer
  • Improvements in your health
  • Time has passed since your last application

Useful resources

House of Commons Library – Suicide statistics

NHS – Help for suicidal thoughts

Samaritans – Contact a Samaritan

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Is it worth paying for life insurance?

Yes, if you’ve got children or financial dependents then you should have life insurance to protect them if you die. Martin Lewis and the Financial Conduct Authority recommend that you take out life insurance to protect your family and your home. Generally, life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 per month and will be cheaper for younger adults.

Common myths about life insurance:

  • Life insurance won’t pay out (pays out 98% of claims)
  • People with medical conditions can’t have life insurance
  • Life insurance is expensive
  • Savings can be just as effective as life insurance
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Is life insurance worth it? - iam|INSURED

What is the average cost of life insurance per month?

Based on recent research carried out, the average cost of life insurance is approximately £38 per month and the average level of cover is £152,000. Life insurance premiums also vary dramatically from one insurance provider to another and you can reduce your monthly premiums by shopping around.

Fundamentally, life insurance premiums vary depending on your age, health and the amount of cover that you need, starting from as little as £5 per month. You can also get life insurance to protect your family and your home against financial loss if you die.

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What does life insurance cover you for?

Life insurance is a monthly renewable ‘term insurance’ contract that pays out a cash lump sum or regular payments on death to your family or beneficiaries. Policies are most commonly used for family protection or mortgage protection for your loved ones if you die and your household income reduces, plus the additional issues of losing a parent or carer.

Traditional life insurance will not exclude any pre-existing medical conditions and will cover suicide after 12 or 24 months. You can also use life insurance for business protection purposes as well as tax-efficient business life insurance for directors or key people.

What are the disadvantages of life insurance?

The biggest and most common problem that consumers have with life insurance is the cost and the monthly premiums. This is the top reason for policy cancellations and why more people don’t take out life insurance to protect their family.

Another key disadvantage with life insurance is that it holds no investment value, nor can you cash it in. Life insurance works like any other traditional general insurance policy (e.g. car insurance, house insurance, pet insurance etc.), you pay a monthly premium and it will pay out in the event of a claim. Some people decide to use savings instead of taking out life insurance but you need to make sure that you have sufficient savings to cover the costs of death for your family.

Why do I need life insurance?

The fact is that nobody actually ‘needs’ life insurance, but it is strongly recommended that families and couples have cover to protect their loved ones in the event of death. Martin Lewis recommends life insurance and says “this is something that every parent, partner, or person with any other type of dependent needs to consider”.

Life insurance financially protects your loved ones if you die and pays out a cash lump sum to repay your mortgage, pay for school fees, replace lost income, and pay for regular outgoings. Mortgage life insurance is not linked to your mortgage debt so you can use it to pay off some or all of your mortgage.

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