Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Written by Shuman Roy
Content Writer & Entrepreneur Shuman Roy

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Life insurance is supposed to be “simple”…the policy everyone understands. You pay for the insurance, and if you die while the policy is active, your beneficiary gets the money. This is most often times the case.

Life insurance coverage covers death due to natural causes and accidents, however, certain circumstances and types of death may prevent a payout. These policies provide financial protection for your loved ones if you die, but they don’t pay in every situation. Moreover, if you lie in your application, the insurance company might decline payout to your beneficiaries once you die.

There are some instances in which life insurance benefits may not be paid out in the event of the insured’s death. Let’s take a look at some more common reasons that may void a life insurance policy.

1. A life insurance policy would be voided during the discovery period, usually the first two years of the policy’s inception, if any information on the application was purposefully inaccurate. This includes misrepresentation or blatant fraud. After the two year discovery period, the life insurance company must typically pay any claim for benefits.

2. Benefits may be denied in the event the insured was determined to have put themselves at obvious risk of bodily injury or death.

3. Life insurance also does not generally provide benefits in the event of an insured committing suicide within the two year discovery period. However, benefits are typically paid in the event of a suicide taking place after the discovery period. So, life insurance will cover suicide, only if the death doesn’t occur in the contestability period, provided that there’s no exclusion in the policy that forbids it.

4. Life insurance doesn’t cover anything in the event the premium is not paid in a timely manner. Policies can be cancelled for “non pay” with a relatively short notice, usually within 10 days of a late payment, depending on the type of policy you purchased. If your insurance premium isn’t paid, you may not be leaving any benefits behind.

5. If you have an existing life insurance policy and you die of pandemic illness such as COVID-19, your death will be categorized due to natural illness and the insurer will pay out the benefit to your beneficiaries. However, if you have a new policy due to the ongoing pandemic and you live in your application about your health and exposure to the illness, the company can refuse to pay the death benefit.

6. If you’re murdered, the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries, except if your beneficiary murdered you or is somehow related to your murder.

7. An accidental death is also covered by a life insurance policy. So, if you die from a motor vehicle accident, drowning, poisoning, accidental drug overdose, or another tragedy, your beneficiaries will get the death benefit.

Insurance companies may cancel your policy and your beneficiaries would lose the benefit if you lie about your medical condition, family health history, alcohol and drug use, risky activities, travel plans.

Moreover, the payout of the death benefit can be complicated if you have not assigned beneficiaries, or you do but they die before you. In these situations, the death benefit will be rewarded to your estate and not to your loved ones.

Get quotes online or visit and independent agent to make sure you purchase the right life insurance policy at the right price.

There are several types of life insurance options available in the marketplace today; including whole life insuranceterm life insurancegroup life insuranceno load life insurance, and universal life insurance.

Term life insurance policy and whole life insurance policy (or permanent life insurance policy) are the two primary types of life insurance. A term policy is the most affordable option and it pays out if you die during the policy’s term (0-30 years). On the other hand, a permanent policy pays the benefit whenever you die and regardless of how long you had the policy or how old you are.

You may need to consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy if you are having difficulty obtaining a life insurance policy in the standard market.

Read more: How much life insurance do I need?