| Read Time: 2 minutes
Attorney Portrait

A double indemnity clause is a type of provision found in many life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment policies.

This type of clause allows for additional payout in the event of accidental death. However, insurance companies often make it difficult to classify the death as “accidental,” preventing you from getting the payment you may be entitled to.

Contact the Johns Law Firm today to see if you qualify for a double indemnity claim and find out how we can help. 

Double Indemnity Life Insurance Definition

Double indemnity life insurance clauses require an insurer to provide a larger payout if the insured died as a result of accidental death.

Very often, this additional payment will be double or even triple the amount that is provided for in the policy.

Approximately 5% of all deaths in the United States are the result of an accident.

Life insurance companies offer additional payouts for accidental deaths due, in part, to the low likelihood that you will die due to an accident. 

Sometimes, however, insurers will try to deny double indemnity claims to avoid making additional payments that may actually be owed. 

What Qualifies as an Accidental Death

Determining what constitutes an “accidental death” is more complicated than you might think. Insurance policies will frequently carve out many exceptions to coverage under the policy.

Below are some examples of deaths that generally qualify as accidental: 

  • Murder, 
  • Motor vehicle accidents, 
  • Drowning,
  • Falls, and
  • Any other death not considered an “accident” by the insurer.

But, for most causes of accidental death, the insurer will attempt to find an exception to coverage.

The following are some common exceptions to coverage for a double indemnity claim: 

  • Murder of the insured by a beneficiary under the policy;
  • Accidents caused by the insured’s own alleged negligence;
  • Accidental death where the insured was intoxicated;
  • Suicide; and
  • Natural causes.

Even though there are many exceptions to coverage, this does not always mean that your claim should be denied.

Having a lawyer who understands what does and does not qualify as an accidental death can greatly improve your chances of having your double indemnity claim paid. 

What Can I Do If the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?

Unfortunately, many insurers will deny double indemnity claims that should be paid. However, even if your claim is denied, you may be able to contest it. 

For example, an insurer might deny a double indemnity claim based on their determination that the insured committed suicide.

But, if you can prove that the death was, in fact, an accident and not a suicide, then your claim should not be denied.

Likewise, an insurer might deny payment of the double indemnity benefit because it believes the accidental death was the result of the insured’s own negligence or intoxication.

While these may seem like fairly standard exclusions, insurers can stretch their meanings to deny coverage.

Why?

A double indemnity payment is a huge hit on an insurer and it will do anything it can to avoid doing so.

The good news is that having an experienced lawyer in your corner to argue on your behalf can make all the difference. 

Dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death is challenging, and navigating a double indemnity insurance claim and subsequent denial can make matters feel even worse.

At the Johns Law Firm, we want to make sure you feel taken care of. 

If you or someone you know has had a double indemnity claim denied by an insurer, contact us today to see how we can help. 

Author Photo

Jeremiah Johns

Jeremiah N. Johns is a trial attorney who represents clients in insurance, maritime, personal injury, and litigation matters. Raised on a family farm in Southeast Georgia, at an early age he gained an appreciation for hard work and ingenuity. These values form the bedrock of his practice.​ Jeremiah holds an LL.M. in Admiralty from Tulane Law School and a J.D. from Syracuse University, where he graduated with honors. He also graduated magna cum laude with bachelor degrees in political science and economics from Georgia State University.