What is a Contestability Period?
A contestability period is standard on almost all life insurance policies and is the primary reason why you should never lie on an application. This gives providers a period of time (usually 2 years) to investigate a claim on a policy following a death. If they find that information was falsified or otherwise misrepresented, they are free to either reduce the death payment to your beneficiaries or, in some cases, not pay at all.
The contestability time allows companies to deny or reduce benefits if:
- It is discovered that you lied on your application
- If you fail to report any significant changes that have occurred that could affect your health
- The circumstances surrounding your death are suspicious (suicide)
- There is suspicion of fraud by other means
Other providers and policies, such as auto insurance may also have a contestability period attached to them. You should read any policy carefully and thoroughly (perhaps even have it checked out by your lawyer) before signing it, so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
The contestability time and the possible repercussions of being found in violation of your plan is a good to check your policy on a regular basis – at least once a year. This will serve as a reminder to report to your insurer any significant changes to your health that may change your policy and ensure that your loved ones are protected as you intended for them to be.