Suicide Help & Support

If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts the single most important thing is to talk to someone about how you're feeling.

There’s always someone out there to support you and you don’t need to face things alone.

If you don't feel you can talk to a friend or family member then you can contact any of the following bodies for free:

If you’re dealing with grief from losing a loved one due to suicide, there’s also:

Suicide in the UK

Recent numbers show that from 2020 to 2021, there was an increase in the number of suicides in the UK.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many deaths from 2020 couldn’t be officially registered until 2021 - therefore, these numbers may not be completely representative.

In 2021, 5,583 suicides were registered across England and Wales[1].

Suicide prevention has been credited for helping to reduce the number of suicides that occur in the UK, but unfortunately, it's still very much an everyday occurrence.

Life insurance and suicide

There are many misconceptions surrounding life insurance and suicide.

It’s commonly believed that you can’t secure life insurance after an attempted suicide, or that a pay out won’t be made for death due to suicide.

However, this isn’t always the case and having adequate life insurance in place is essential for ensuring the future of your loved ones.

Insurers will take your personal circumstances into consideration which will help to decide the outcome of your application, the terms and conditions you’re offered and the price you’ll pay.

Life insurance after suicide

It can still be possible to obtain life insurance after an attempt of suicide.

The application will, however, most likely go through a manual underwriting process.

The information regarding when the attempt took place and any treatment which has been received since will be taken into account.

This information will then be used to calculate your life insurance premiums based on the level of risk the insurer believes you pose.

Based on your level of risk there could also be exclusions for suicide added to your policy.

Does life insurance pay out for suicide?

It’s a common misconception that life insurance won’t pay out if the cause of death is suicide - for most policies this isn’t true.

The table below shows which insurers cover suicide and the suicide clause time periods for each:

InsurerCovered for suicideSuicide not covered within the first:
Aegon logo Icon green tick 12 months
AIG logo Icon green tick 24 months
Aviva Icon green tick 12 months
Beagle Street logo Icon green tick 12 months
Legal & General Icon green tick 12 months
LV= Icon green tick 12 months
Royal London review logo Icon green tick 12 months
Scottish Widows logo Icon green tick 12 months
Vitality logo Icon green tick 12 months
Zurich logo Icon green tick 12 months


Please note: Reassured does not offer life insurance quotes from all the insurers listed in the table

There are certain clauses which can be written into a life insurance policy that will determine whether or not a pay out is issued.

The suicide clause (or suicide provision)

The suicide clause is the period of time following the start of the policy in which a pay out won’t be made if the cause of death is suicide.

This clause exists to protect the insurer and is designed to stop vulnerable individuals from suicide, for the purpose of securing a life insurance pay out.

The suicide clause in summary:

  • Defines the time period at the beginning of the policy in which if there’s an act of a suicide, a pay out won’t be made
  • The clause is typically 2 years, but can occasionally be 12 months, depending on the insurer
  • After this period, a full pay out is likely to be issued, even if the cause of death is suicide
  • The clause usually restarts if an existing life insurance policy is replaced with a new one

The contestability clause (or the contestability period)

The contestability clause refers to the period in which an insurer can investigate the death of a policyholder.

Whilst the suicide clause refers solely to a death caused by the policyholder, the contestability clause applies to any death within the period stated by the policy.

The contestability clause commonly runs for the same length as the suicide clause.

For example, if the policyholder dies of cancer, the insurer has the right to review medical history and autopsy reports to determine whether or not the policyholder was a smoker or substance abuser.

If this is deemed to be the case and it wasn’t disclosed during the application process, the insurer can decline a pay out.

The contestability clause in summary:

  • Defines the period of time at the beginning of the policy, in which if the policyholder dies, the insurer has the right to investigate the cause of death
  • The insurer can use autopsy reports, medical reports and interview family/friends
  • It can determine whether the cause of death was an act of suicide or not
  • If, as a result, the insurer deems the death to be a suicide they're not obligated to issue a pay out if it was within the period of the suicide clause

Sometimes the suicide and contestability clauses don’t exist

The aforementioned suicide and contestability clauses tend to be present with regards to most private life insurance policies.

However, group life insurance paid by an employer doesn’t usually have a suicide clause.

This means if an act of suicide occurs, regardless of how soon after the policy start date, a pay out will still be made to the policyholder’s beneficiaries.

When a pay out won’t be made?

On rare occasions, some policies will have a ‘no suicide’ element, regardless of the time after the start date that the event occurs.

In this instance, under no circumstances will a pay out be made if a death occurs as a result of suicide.

A pay out can also be denied on the grounds of non-disclosed information (or non-disclosure).

This is when the policyholder withholds crucial information during the application, regarding their mental or physical health, smoking habit or substance abuse.

In this instance, regardless of whether the suicide clause has lapsed, a pay out can be denied if the insurer identifies key information which hadn’t been disclosed.

For example, 80 - 90% of people who pass away by suicide suffer from a mental illness[2].

If a policyholder has a mental illness or drug/alcohol dependency and hasn’t disclosed it, then the insurer doesn’t have to pay out regardless of the cause of death.

This highlights the importance of being open and honest when applying for life insurance.

If you’re worried about the impact your habits or wellbeing may have on your premiums, start your quote today and one of our consultants will be happy to help run through your options.

Making a claim for suicide

If you’ve recently lost a loved one as a result of suicide, don’t be deterred from making a claim on their life insurance.

Get in touch with the insurer and enquire exactly what you’re entitled to.

Being the beneficiary of a policyholder who passed away from an act of suicide can be very upsetting, daunting and also confusing.

Losing a loved one is a difficult matter no matter what the cause. But when a loved one chooses to end their life, it can often leave those left behind feeling even more hurt and confused.

Add this to the financial pressures and it’s no wonder many beneficiaries would feel the weight of the world on their shoulders.

There are 3 simple steps for the beneficiary to take:

  1. Review the life insurance policy to determine the terms of the suicide clause. Did the act of suicide occur within this period?
  2. Always contact the insurer. To establish what you may be entitled to from the policy
  3. Talk to an authority. There are a number of agencies detailed at the beginning of this article who can offer advice or just a safe space to talk

Life insurance and suicidal thoughts

If you've previously experienced suicidal thoughts and these have been shared with a professional, it can also still be possible to obtain life insurance.

The process would, again, go to manual underwriting.

During this process information regarding your thoughts, such as time since the occurrence and treatment received, will be taken into account.

Life insurance with depression

With regards to depression, a major concern for insurers is the likelihood it could lead to an act of suicide.

Secondary to this is the correlation between poor mental health and poor physical health, which can result in an abundance of fatal illnesses.

When applying for life insurance with depression, it’s highly likely you’ll be required to answer questions regarding the following:

  • Age of diagnosis
  • Events relating to illness
  • Most recent episode
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Treatment/medication

It’s also very likely that your GP will be asked for a report regarding your illness.

If you suffered from a one-off incident 5 or more years ago, it’s likely that your life insurance can go ahead as standard.

The more recent and more severe your episodes, the more likely it will inflate the cost of your monthly premiums.

Previously being declined life insurance due to depression doesn’t mean it’s impossible to obtain life cover.

If you suffer from depression and are finding it difficult to get accepted for life insurance, using a specialist service such as Reassured’s impaired risk team could help you obtain the cover you need.

They take your specific circumstances into account to help you find the insurers most likely to accept your request for life cover.

In the eyes of the insurer, depression is regarded as a pre-existing medical condition, which could impact the premium cost.

Does life insurance cover a drug overdose?

In terms of life insurance, drug use is deemed as high risk behaviour.

With regards to life insurance and drug overdose, three aspects are taken into consideration when determining whether or not a pay out should be made:

  • Type of drug
  • Honesty about previous drug use
  • Accidental or intentional

Not being truthful about your drug habits when applying for life insurance will invalidate your policy.

Life insurance and intentional drug overdose

Intentional drug overdoses are often covered by the suicide clause meaning that if the overdose occurs within the first two years of the policy, it's deemed invalid and a pay out won't be issued.

Equally, a pay out can also be denied if the policyholder was dishonest about their drug use during the application process.

Generally, overdoses which occur as a result of illegal substances or unlawfully consuming prescription drugs will be considered intentional drug overdoses.

This is because the insurer can conclude that the policyholder was aware of the possible risks involved.

We recently wrote a comprehensive life insurance for drug users article, which can provide more detailed information.

Life insurance and unintentional drug overdose

As opposed to falling under the suicide clause, an unintentional drug overdose generally falls under the contestability clause.

This means that if it occurs during the first two years of the policy, the insurer has the right to investigate.

Dependant on the findings of this investigation, a pay out could be denied if it's deemed the policyholder was dishonest about their drug habits.

Death from lawfully prescribed drugs is more likely to be viewed as unintentional.

Previous drug use and life insurance

It's likely that if you declare previous drug use during the life insurance application, they'll write into your contract that upon your death, autopsy and toxicology reports can be obtained.

It's also possible that you'll be subjected to life insurance drug tests prior to approval.

In almost all cases, use of illegal drugs (with the exception of marijuana) will result in you being denied life insurance.

The use of marijuana is likely to increase the cost of your monthly premiums.

Previous illegal drug use is likely to result in a large amount of questioning to determine the severity of your habit.

Abstinence of drug use for 3 years is likely to result in approval with loaded premiums, whereas an abstinence of 15 years plus could result in approval with standard premiums.

It's unlikely you need to declare the use of illegal drugs if you only experimented a handful of times many years ago.

Reassured's free, dedicated impaired risk team

Suffering from a mental health condition or previous substance abuse doesn’t mean you can't secure life insurance.

When applying for life cover, many people withhold information on their health (both physical and mental) and previous substance abuse due to the fear of being unable to get life insurance. But this isn’t the case.

As detailed above, it's essential you're completely open and honest when applying for life insurance as any non-disclosed information can lead to a claim being declined.

At Reassured, we offer our customers a free to use specialist impaired risk team.

This dedicated team help customers with health issues, previous substance addiction and any other issues which may make getting life insurance more complicated than usual, to find cover.

If you think you may benefit from using our impaired risk service, get in touch with one of our team today.




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