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When Todd Croft’s wife, Chelsea, died of a brain tumour so rare that that BC Cancer Agency had never treated it before, he was at a loss in more ways than one. Not only was the widower left with two sets of twins to care for, but after three months of being off work, the family was also struggling financially. To make matters worse, Chelsea’s life insurance policy was denied. According to Global News, while in the midst of moving homes, the Croft family missed an automatic monthly payment due to a "glitch" in the system. Five months later, after Chelsea was diagnosed with cancer, she called the insurance company to talk about her policy. They told her it was null and void. Although they had sent a notice, the couple had never received it. Sadly, this isn’t the first time an insurance company has denied a policy. In fact, there are a number of ways your policy can be voided. Although it’s not the most upbeat of topics, you’ll want to know what can and will void your policy before it happens to you or someone you love.

Keep these in mind:

Providing Inaccurate Details

This one is a biggie. If you say you don’t have diabetes but you do, you risk voiding your policy. With life insurance policies there’s an incontestability period that lasts two years. That means that your insurance provider has two years to look into your policy and dispute its validity. 

Replacing Your Policy

If you choose to replace your policy, what you need to know is that the incontestability period starts all over again. Keep that in mind if you decide to make a switch. 

Drugs And Alcohol Abuse

According to this case featured in the Canadian Insurance Law Blog, an application by a widow for insurance following her husband’s death was dismissed due to drug and alcohol abuse. Although Mrs. Laird had claimed ‘yes’ when asked if her husband suffered from illnesses or disorders related to the heart, brain, lungs, kidney, liver or pancreas, no further information was requested. The reason her insurance provider denied the claim for payment, says the blog, was because of an exclusion set you in the policy. It stated that the company in question had no liability, except to refund unearned premiums, “where the death of an insured results from or is caused or contributed to directly or indirectly by…illness, disease, or death resulting from Alcohol or Drug Use/Abuse…”

Other Exclusions That Could Void Life Insurance Coverage

  • Living Dangerously: Other exclusions include participating in hazardous activities, like skydiving, says Another common exclusion is accidental death caused by an “act of war” or death that occurs “while in active military service.”
  • Suicide: Just about every insurance policy known to man includes a provision for suicide. Unfortunately, if your policy is less than two years old and death was the result of suicide, your claim will be denied. 
  • Dying in a restricted country:  Finally, your policy may be made void if you die in a restricted country. For this reason, it’s important to talk to your insurance provider before travelling, particularly if you’re travelling to a “high-risk region.” Learn more about specialty life insurance policies and where to find them – and always read the fine print.

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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