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Life Insurance and Suicide


Losing a loved one to suicide is a particularly painful and challenging time for those who are left to continue with their daily living. Amid all the emotions and planning that follows such an event is the question of whether the loved one’s life insurance policy will be honored. So here are some things to take note of if you or someone you know are ever regrettably in the position of having to face this situation.

Life insurance can cover the insured’s suicidal death, as long as contractual details are met. It is important to review the life insurance terms and conditions carefully so you understand what may or may not happen next. Death by suicide may still result in the policy being paid to the beneficiary(-ies).

Something else to keep in mind is that most life insurance policies include contestability periods and suicide clauses that must expire before a suicidal death policy will be paid out. This usually is restricted to a two-year period after the policy’s effective date. These exclusionary clauses place stipulations around death benefit payouts, including those for suicidal deaths within that time frame. If the insured person passes away after these clauses expire, however, beneficiaries may receive the death benefit left to them by the policyholder.

Military Life Insurance and Suicide

Some military-focused life insurance policies, such as the ones offered by Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), are unique in that they typically do pay out the death benefit to the insured’s beneficiaries regardless of the cause of death. Meaning: whether the insured dies from an act of war or by suicide, their life insurance policy may still pay the death benefit.

No matter how you lose someone you love, you deserve understanding and personal attention at your time of need. As an AAFMAA Member, when you purchase life insurance to protect your loved ones, we want you to know your rights and any exceptions or clauses that may affect how your policies could affect your family’s financial future. We recommend you plan ahead by downloading our Military Survivor Checklist. Gathering all the personal information your survivors will need in one place will help provide them with peace of mind when you’re gone. AAFMAA Members also receive the benefit of our Survivor Assistance Services when the time comes. We are the hand your beneficiaries can hold.

If you or someone you know needs help dealing with PTSD or are looking for resources to work through stress when times feel extra-challenging, look to Veterans Moving Forward, The Washington TattooNational Center for PTSD or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. These organizations and others can help you navigate a way to a brighter future.