If you’ve ever read a life insurance policy, you know they are not that different from other types of insurance policies. They typically begin with a description of what is covered by your policy. They then give a whole list of reasons why your policy may become ineffective – those reasons are your policy exclusions.
When it comes to life insurance policies, most people have heard of the suicide exclusion. Although it is often less restrictive than people think, suicide exclusions relieve the insurance company from paying on a life insurance claim if the policyholder died through an act of suicide.
What many people do not know, however, is that there are several other types of exclusions that may or may not be included in your policy. One to watch out for is what is known as the felony exclusion. It basically says that if the policyholder dies while committing a felony, the insurance company does not have to make payment to his beneficiary.
We can almost hear what you're thinking right now : “I've never committed a felony in my life! This exclusion would never apply to me.”
We’re glad you think so. Nonetheless, there are several seemingly benign actions a person can take that are felonies under state or federal law. Thus, if a person dies while engaged in one of these activities, their beneficiaries might be surprised when they are unable to collect on a life insurance claim.
This article describes some of those lesser-known felonies. While this article is written mostly for fun, it is really intended to remind our readers of the grave consequences of the felony exclusion. In truth, even good people make bad mistakes sometimes.
For example, how many times have you heard of an otherwise upstanding citizen who died in a car crash while driving drunk? If that person injured or killed others during the crash, it is quite possible that the felony exclusion could block his family from receiving the benefits he intended for them. As you might imagine, finding out that your family cannot collect on the life insurance proceeds it planned for, can be compound and already a tragic situation.
With that said , here are some of those lesser known felonies we were talking about:
Posting to someone else’s social media account
Let's face it, different people have different types of friendships in their lives. Some friendships are characterized by an ongoing series of practical jokes. In fact, the 2011 movie entitled Impractical Jokers told the real life story of a group of friends who spent a lifetime pulling pranks on one another.
In these days of mobile technology and social media, one tempting prank is to make embarrassing posts to a friend’s social media account. Did you know, however, that using someone else’s account in that manner can actually be considered wire fraud under federal statutes?
Although a lot of different pieces would have to come together in order for an insurance company to figure out that you were engaged in this activity at the time of your death, it is at least plausible that a life insurer could invoke the felony exclusion in these circumstances to deny paying out a claim against your policy.
Trying to help a friend with a back ache
Here's another felony we've probably all engaged in inadvertently from time to time: a friend calls and tells you that she has a terrible backache and can't get out of bed. You ask if she wants to be driven to the doctor and she tells you she doesn't think she can even make it there without some sort of pain relief. You look in your medicine cabinet and realize that you have an old prescription for Vicodin from a knee surgery you had a couple years ago. You tell your friend that you'll be right over to deliver the pills.
Let's just hope that you don't have a heart attack and pass away while you are delivering those drugs. Technically, you are in the act of distributing a controlled substance, which is a felony under state and federal law. Again, the chances of a life insurance company discovering this act are slim, but it's good to always keep in mind the consequences of your behavior.
Busting up someone’s mailbox
Have you ever had one of those neighbors who consistently drives you crazy? Maybe their dog defecates on your lawn every morning or perhaps they throw loud, wild parties at all hours of the night. It might be tempting to get back at them by doing something seemingly harmless like putting rotten eggs in their mailbox or shooting a BB gun at their mailbox. This might be especially true in some rural areas where we've seen mailbox vandalism become almost like a sport.
Be careful, however. Messing with someone's mailbox actually constitutes the federal crime of vandalizing federal property. Once again, the chances that someone will die doing this or that their life insurance company would ever find out about it are slim to none.
Our point remains the same. You never know which day is going to be your last day on this planet. If you are relying on life insurance proceeds to protect the people you love after you passed away, it is a good idea to always be conscious of following the law if for no other reason than to prevent your life insurer from denying a claim against your policy.As we said above, this article was mostly for fun. The truth is, however, life insurance claims are denied every single day for completely bogus reasons. If you have received a life insurance claim denial that doesn't seem fair to you , please call to speak with our attorneys today. The consultation is free and, if we decide to take your case, we won't charge you a dime unless and until you recover money from the insurance company. Call us today. We're here to help.