Does life insurance pay out for an overdose?
Updated: Aug 4
Sadly, people unexpectedly pass away everyday from drug overdoses all over the country. Many people may not understand whether or not they're spouse's life insurance policy will still pay them out after the cause of death is determined. Imagine one day your significant other unexpectedly passes. You assume that you will receive the death benefit, but then the autopsy reveals that the cause of death was a drug overdose and they refuse to pay out the claim. In addition to the emotional stress from your lost loved one now you have to deal with the financial strain. It would be helpful to know if your life insurance can or cannot deny the claim.
Does typical life insurance cover an overdose?
The answer is sometimes but it depends on the circumstances of the overdose.
The insurance company will take into consideration a few things:
The type of drug that the insured overdosed on
Whether or not the insured was honest about his or her drug use when applying for life insurance.
Whether the drug overdose was intentional or an accident
Insurance providers used to exclude coverage from people who engaged in "risky behaviors". This included things like scuba diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, etc. as well as drug use. However now insurance companies do allow coverage for people that engage in these behaviors however, if the insured individuals fail to share that information with the insurance provider than they are allowed to void the policy if the individual passes away due to a risky activity, such as drug use.
When the insurance company can deny a drug overdose
Typically the insurance company can deny a death benefit if the overdose was deemed intentional. If the drug overdose was not intentional then there is a chance that the insurance company will pay out the death benefit. However, if the insured was not honest at the time of issuing the policy than the insurance company has the right to deny the death benefit. Drug overdoses generally require a lot of investigation before they determine whether or not they will or will not pay out the death benefit.
Does it matter what kind of drug the insured overdosed on?
Yes, it does matter. An overdose on an illicit drug is much different than an overdose on a drug that was prescribed to them. If someone overdoses on an illicit drug like heroin, meth, cocaine, etc. than the insurance company could argue that they knew the dangers of these drugs which would result in a denied claim. However, if someone overdoses on a drug prescribed to them by a doctor, than the death could be ruled as accidental which would result in the death benefit being paid out.
There is no simple answer on whether or not an insurance company will pay out a death benefit on an overdose. It comes down to the circumstances of the drug overdose and the insurance provider.
AZ Insurance Team 480-535-5709
*All policies are a little different and this may not be applicable to your insurance policy, talk to your agent to see what your policy covers.*