Life Insurance Lawyer Washington
Whether you reside in: Bellingham; Kirkland; Spokane Valley; Yakima; Federal Way; Renton; Everett; Kent; Bellevue; Vancouver; Tacoma; Spokane or Seattle; our life insurance attorneys who live and work here in Washington are here to help resolve your delayed or denied life insurance claim.
Washington Denied Life Insurance Claims Recently Settled
- Liberty Mutual interpleader case $513,000.00
- West Coast alcohol exclusion claim $227,000.00
- Prudential AD&D accidental death $348,000.00
- ERISA appeal after great legal brief $190,000.00
- Washington denied life insurance claim $3,067,750.00
- SGLI dispute wife and ex-wife $400,000.00
- Security Mutual beneficiary dispute $305,000.00
- Gerber failure to accept policy premiums $170,000.00
- Denied life insurance claim Washington $1,240,000.00
- Prudential material misrepresentation application $330,000.00
- FEGLI appeal of life benefits won $149,000.00
- Washington bad faith life insurance $821,000.00
- AIG accidental death claim won $514,000.00
- Stonebridge contestability period medical records $130,000.00
- Washington divorce and life insurance $757,000.00
- Transamerica autoerotic asphyxiation death $426,000.00
Things you should always reveal to your life insurance company
Our firm specializes in helping people who have had life insurance claims wrongfully denied by insurance companies. Over the years, we’ve seen so many bogus denials from life insurers that we’ve grown suspicious of the majority of claim denial justifications that come across our desks. It is our greatest pleasure to help our clients contest and overcome those denials.
That said, as attorneys who focus almost exclusively on life insurance issues, we believe we can also assist people in making sure they take all the steps necessary to get and maintain valid policies that will pay beneficiaries as planned when the policyholder passes away. One of the ways we can do that is to educate consumers about the things they should always be honest about when applying for a life insurance policy.
We understand that at some level, some people are tempted to tell little white lies in their life insurance application. What we need to share with you, however, is that some of those mistruths can have major legal implications regarding the validity of your policy. That is because of a legal concept called “material misrepresentations.”
Basically, the law requires that the parties to a contract tell each other the truth about the subject of the contract during negotiations. In the life insurance context that means, among other things, that the policy applicant has to reveal to the insurance company any conditions that might cause the company to deny coverage or charge greater premiums. The failure to do so can be deemed a “material misrepresentation.” In the law, material misrepresentations are serious enough to relieve the party who was lied to of any obligations under the contract. For a life insurance company, that means they can use material misrepresentations to deny claims.
This article explores some of the more common things people lie about in life insurance applications that end up giving the insurance company an excuse to deny later claims. While each case is different and each one of these lies can be told with varying levels of consequences, the best strategy for any life insurance applicant is to simply tell the truth about these issues.
It should come as no surprise that life insurance companies want to know about an applicant’s disease history before they issue a policy or set a premium amount. The unfortunate truth is that a history of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease can make a person more likely to die at a younger age than his/her peers. Of course, life insurance companies make the most amount of money from policyholders who live a long life and pay premiums faithfully over the course of several years or decades.
Consequently, an applicant’s disease history is one of the most important things to the insurer. When an applicant fails to reveal a significant disease, obtains a policy based on that omission, and later dies of a cause related to that condition, the insurance company almost always seeks to avoid making a policy payout based on a material misrepresentation.
What many people do not know, however, is that the insurance company may be able to avoid its policy obligations even if the insured dies of a condition completely unrelated to the one he failed to reveal in his policy application. The insurer will argue that had it known the full truth about the applicant’s health, it never would have issued a policy in the first place and thus never would have had to make a policy payout at all. Depending on the significance of the underlying condition, this argument can be quite persuasive to courts.
At this point in time, smoking is one of those habits that has an undeniable negative impact on a person’s health. People who smoke are more likely to contract lung cancer, lung disease, heart disease, asthma, and other serious conditions than those who don’t. Thus, life insurance companies take this inquiry very seriously.
If a person denies smoking in their application, is issued a policy, then dies of a smoking-related illness, the life insurer will often undertake an intense investigation into the person’s true history. They’ll even go so far as to scour a person’s social media history to look for pictures or other indications that the policyholder smoked. If they can find that evidence, you better believe they’ll deny any claim against that policy.
Another serious inquiry for life insurance companies has to do with the applicant’s hobbies. Certain activities, such as skydiving, SCUBA diving, motorcycle racing, or rock climbing, can be deemed so dangerous that the insurance company won’t issue a policy to regular participants. Knowing this, many thrill-seekers are tempted to lie in their policy applications or simple fail to disclose that they do one or more of these sports on a regular basis.
To the insurance company, that mistruth is no less material than the failure to reveal a physical disease or a history of smoking. Indeed, they frequently deny claims based on alleged material misrepresentations about these activities.
Denials made on this basis have a little more wiggle room when it comes to contesting the claim denial, however. For example, what if the policyholder never took up the dangerous sport until years after his policy was in place? What if he died the very first time he tried one of these activities? In those instances, there may still be room for the beneficiary to collect the benefit the policyholder intended.
Ultimately, if you have had a life insurance claim denied on any basis, you would do yourself a big favor if you simply called our firm to talk it over. The initial consultation is free and we’ll only encourage you to pursue the claim if we believe the denial was truly in error. We also won’t charge you a dime unless and until you get monetary recovery from the insurance company. The truth is, many claim denials are erroneous. Call us today. We’re here to help.
- Number one is a misrepresentation on the application. This typically involves failing to disclose a medical condition. However, we can get over this hurdle the majority of the time.
- A lapse of a life insurance policy is probably second most common. What happens is that the insured gets sick and misses a payment or two. These are tough, but often we can get these claims paid.
- Probably third is the type of death exclusion. This could be a suicide or it could be a self-inflicted injury. Murder is another exclusion. Health again can fall under this exclusion. We often win suicide exclusions as we cite case law that the death was actually accidental.
- A very common exclusion is the alcohol exclusion. The insured may have been killed in a car crash, but the autopsy revealed alcohol in the person’s system. We have many legal briefs to combat this exclusion.
- Heroin and opiates or illegal drug exclusion is one of the biggest now. With the opioid crisis, there are tens of thousands of deaths.
- Prescription drug overdose exclusion may involve an overdose of medicine or taken medicines that are contraindicated.
- An ex-spouse being cut off from life insurance benefits is a big one. We actually have a half dozen ways to get over this hurdle.
- Having a spouse not listed as a beneficiary is another reason for denial
- Having a child not listed as a beneficiary is one too.
- Having only a primary beneficiary who is deceased is another.
- On an AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) life insurance policy, a fall not being considered an accident is extremely common.
- The insured’s age not being correct on the initial application is a reason for denial.
- Having the wrong social security number listed is common.
- An autoerotic asphyxiation exclusion is an easy one for us to beat.
- An omission on the application is a big reason for denying a life insurance claim, but we have legal briefs to this effect.
- Not providing the required documents to the insurance company after death is a reason.
- Information which is argued to not be correct is one.
- When there is a dispute between two or more beneficiaries, an interpleader may occur, and we always get these resolved quickly.
- A beneficiary not named is a reason for not paying it out.
- A life insurance policy may be transferred from one company to another by the employer which causes major problems.