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Life Insurance
Will You Be Covered for Self-Inflicted Injuries?
Will You Be Covered for Self-Inflicted Injuries?
20 Oct 2020

Should a life insurance policy holder die, a claim needs to be placed before the payout is made by an insurer. However, there are some deaths that a life insurer will not be willing to cover due to the circumstances surrounding the death. Are self-inflicted injuries covered by life insurers?

It depends on how it happened

Life insurance claims are not paid out immediately due to the investigation that insurers carry out to ensure that the policy holder's cause of death was due to natural circumstances and that there was no foul play. All life insurers have a list of exclusions, which is a list of things that they will not cover, causing a claim to be denied.


Should the death of the policy holder fall into any of the listed exclusions, an insurer can deny a claim. For example, a self-inflicted injury that resulted in the death of the policy holder will have to be proven to be done by accident. If it was due to suicide, it will have had to occur after 24 months after having taken out the cover. The reason for the 24 months waiting period is to protect insurers from insurance scams.


What are the exclusions that can cause a claim to be denied?

When taking out a cover, your insurer will list the exclusions of things they will not cover you for. Self-inflicted injuries may be listed in the form of dangerous hobbies and activities that you knowingly participate in that can increase your chances of physically hurting yourself or putting your life at risk. Some examples of dangerous hobbies and activities an insurer will not cover are:


Cliff diving

Drag boat racing

Competitive water skiing

Professional boxing

Professional kick-boxing

Professional wrestling

Participating in a riot or insurrection

Taking military or hostile action

Committing an act of terrorism

Being involved in an illegal sexual act


Taking unprescribed drugs

Driving a vehicle when your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit

Deliberately inflicting injury upon yourself


While life insurers aim to protect your financial future along with that of your loved ones, it is crucial to read the exclusions that come with your cover to avoid having it denied. Informing your beneficiaries about the claims process can also make the process less frustrating as your insurer will be able to communicate the relevant information of how the payout will work and how long it will take.

Need more information on MiWayLife? Read about our life insurance product, or get a life insurance quote in 30 seconds. Alternatively, call us on 0860 64 54 33 .
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Terms and conditions apply. Eligibility, cover and benefits are determined on individual risk profile. MiWayLife is an authorised FSP (No. 45741) and its product offering is underwritten by Sanlam Life Insurance Limited, a registered long-term insurer. MiWayLife is a division of Sanlam Life Insurance Limited - Reg No. 1998/021121/06