What happens when a life insurance application contains bad information?
Wrong or false information can invalidate a life insurance policy. Even when a mistake is unintentional, mistakes on an application can make it difficult to recover benefits. When applying for life insurance, be as thorough and accurate as possible on your application. Accuracy will help ensure that your beneficiary will recover the benefits for which you are paying.
If you are a beneficiary, it may be impossible to know that your loved one’s application contained a misstatement before a claim is denied. If your claim has already been denied, you may still be able to recover with the help of an experienced life insurance lawyer at the Boonswang Law Firm.
Can I claim death benefits if the application was wrong?
Wrong Age on Application
An application with an incorrect age can make it difficult to recover benefits. Many insurance policies contain a “misstatement of age provision”. A misstatement of age clause states that the insurance company will only pay the amount of benefits that would have been purchased for the premium if the correct age had been provided.
In other words, a beneficiary’s claim will pay out the amount of money that it would have paid out if your loved one’s age was accurate. This payout will certainly be less than expected under the current policy.
Even if the misstatement was accidental, an insurance company is likely to reduce benefits to match the true age of the insured. Insurers also reduce benefits if someone other than the insured (such as the agent) is to blame for the misstatement.
Inaccurate Income Listed
When applying for life insurance, applicants may be tempted to stretch the truth in their favor. Lying on a life insurance application is always risky: in most states, an insurer can deny a claim even if the misrepresentation and the cause of death are completely unrelated.
Overstating your income, or even estimating your income, will increase the risk that a claim is denied — even if the insured never missed a premium payment. If your claim is underpaid or denied because of an inaccurate income, you will likely require an experienced law firm like Boonswang Law to help you recover.
Inaccurate Weight Listed
Insurance companies rely on weight to decide your rate class and premiums. Because weight is an important factor for all insurance companies, an inaccurate weight will increase the chance that your claim will be delayed or denied. Insurance companies will always know if you or your loved one’s weight is inaccurate. Insurers receive an accurate report from your life insurance medical exam, and may even look at your health history to verify your weight.
Life insurance height and weight charts are available online to understand what category into which an individual is likely to fall based on their BMI. Obese individuals are still eligible for life insurance and are likely to find coverage that meets their needs without sacrificing accuracy on an application.
Missing Information on Insurance Application
When an applicant for an individual health policy failed to complete the application properly, insurance companies are more likely to increase premiums, reduce benefit payments, or deny benefits outright.
Application omissions are particularly risky if an insurer discovers an omission within the two-year contestability period. If the insured dies within two (2) years of policy approval, an insurer can avoid paying benefits if it can prove that the cause of death conflicts with the approved application. Even when the contestability period has passed, an insurer may still avoid payment by showing that the applicant misrepresented an aspect of his or her health that may have affected approval. For example, if the insured dies of a heart attack within the contestability period, the insurer may deny benefits if the insured failed to report a history of high cholesterol on the application.
Life Insurance Lawyers Recover for Misrepresentation
If you believe that you or a loved one may have inaccurate information on an application for life insurance, you should contact the insurance company immediately to submit an amended application. If you have already been denied benefits based on an alleged misrepresentation or fraud, contact the Boonswang Law Firm to discuss the steps that we can take together to ensure you receive the full value of your policy.