Life insurance will cover a death by suicide if it occurs after a certain period of time from the policy purchase date -- often two years after.

Life insurance policies usually include what’s called a “suicide clause.” This clause generally states that a life insurance policy won’t pay out if a death is due to suicide within the first two years of the policy, but the exclusion period can vary. In a case of suicide within the exclusion period, the insurer will refund the premiums paid to the beneficiaries.

The policy will state the specific exclusion time period.

Here’s an example from a Prudential policy of how a suicide clause is often worded:


If the Insured, whether sane or insane, dies by suicide within two years from the Issue Date, this contract will end without any death benefit paid and we will return the premiums paid, less any contract debt and less any withdrawals.

The suicide clause is meant to help insurers in case a depressed and/or financially troubled person decides to buy a policy so that survivors can get a quick payout.