Does Life Insurance Cover Suicide?

Find out whether life insurance policies in Australia offer cover for suicide here with Savvy.

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, updated on July 10th, 2023       

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Losing a loved one to suicide is a tragic and difficult experience. Many people may wonder if life insurance covers suicide and what the process is for making a claim. Life insurance is designed to provide financial protection for your loved ones in the event of your death, but the coverage can vary depending on the circumstances.

Explore whether life insurance covers suicide and what you need to know about making a claim here with Savvy. You can learn about the ins and outs of this type of coverage so you can be clear on what can and can’t be covered under your policy before you purchase it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, it’s important to seek help immediately. The following free resources may help you or a loved one:

Does life insurance include cover for suicide in Australia?

In Australia, life insurance policies can cover suicide, but there are some important conditions to be aware of. Generally, if the policy is over 13 months old, suicide can be covered. However, if the policy is less than 13 months old, your insurer won’t pay out in the event of suicide. This is known as the exclusion period and is a standard clause in most life insurance policies.

If the policyholder does commit suicide and is eligible to receive a payout, the beneficiaries will receive the covered amount as a lump sum payment. The payment can be used for anything the beneficiaries see fit, such as paying off debts, covering funeral expenses or investing for the future.

It's important to review the terms and conditions of a life insurance policy carefully before taking it out to ensure you understand exactly what you’re covered for and what exclusions apply.

Will I be able to take out life insurance cover if I’ve attempted suicide in the past?

If you’ve attempted suicide in the past, you may still be able to buy life insurance, but it’ll likely impact your ability to do so. Life insurance providers assess applications on a case-by-case basis, so your previous suicide attempt may be considered a risk factor depending on how long ago it was and whether more than one attempt has been made previously.

Some insurers may decline to offer coverage to individuals who have attempted suicide in the past, while others may offer coverage with specific exclusions or premium loadings relating to mental health conditions.

It's important to disclose any relevant medical history or pre-existing conditions when applying for life insurance. Failing to disclose a previous suicide attempt could result in your policy being voided, meaning your covered amount won’t be paid out to your beneficiaries upon your death.

How do I apply for life insurance following a suicide attempt?

The process of applying for and buying life insurance after a suicide attempt will likely be similar to anyone else applying with a pre-existing condition. You’ll be required to disclose information about your mental health and suicide attempt, such as what your current or prior mental health conditions are, how long you’ve been suffering from them, whether you have taken or are taking any medication and if your family has a history of mental illness.

You’ll also need to provide other standard information in your application, such as your age, occupation, lifestyle and the amount of cover you’re after. From there, your life insurance provider can assess your application and determine whether to offer you a policy with a loading (which increases the cost of your policy), specific exclusions or deny it.

More questions about life insurance and suicide

Where can I get mental health support?

If you're struggling with your mental health, there are several resources available for support. You can speak to your GP who can refer you to a mental health professional or contact a free mental health helpline such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline or the Suicide Call Back Service. There's also  a range of counselling services available to use online.

Does superannuation life insurance cover suicide?

Superannuation life insurance can cover suicide, but, like life insurance through a specialist insurer, there are often exclusions and waiting periods that apply. It's important to check the details of your policy to understand what is and isn't covered.

How do I make a claim if my partner commits suicide?

If your partner has a life insurance policy and has passed away as a result of suicide, you’ll need to contact the insurer to make a claim. The claims process can be complex and it's important to provide all the necessary documentation and information to support your claim. You’ll need to have a death certificate as well as any further documents your insurer may require.

When will life insurance not pay out on suicide?

As mentioned, life insurance typically won’t pay out if the policyholder commits suicide within the first 13 months of holding the policy. However, it’s also important to note that the non-disclosure of any mental health conditions (or a history of them) when buying the policy may also lead to your covered amount not paying out upon your death. These conditions may vary between insurers, so it’s crucial to check with your provider to determine what some of the reasons may be for a payout being withheld.

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Savvy does not compare all life insurance policies or providers currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

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