Suicide and Funeral Arrangements
April 5, 2016
Suicide is a part of life – and life is cheap in South Africa. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAD) says that there are many more suicides in South Africa that are not reported and which do not make the news.
Sometimes people become so irrational they attempt suicide in public ways. Everyone gets to hear about it on the radio and TV.
One of the biggest contributing factors to killing oneself is depression. But there are a host of unanswered questions surrounding suicide and the way it irrevocably changes peoples lives.
Marilyn Manson sang ‘Suicide is painless – It brings on many changes’, and certainly for a parent, the loss of a child to any form of death leaves a wound that many times finds no healing.
Insurance Plans come with Exclusions to Suicide
There is still a stigma attached to dying this way and in fact some people are so ashamed they don’t seek help. But what do funeral homes have to say and will their funeral plans pay out for such a death?
To discourage suicidal plans, insurers create policies that come with exclusions which actually null and void benefits if you die in a manner that isn’t a natural death. Funeral directors often say that this type of death makes it one of the most difficult funerals to plan.
As the death is unexpected this means that the family has no time to think about what sort of arrangements the deceased may have wanted. It can be particularly difficult when its a young person who has died.
Caring Funeral Directors can Play Supportive Roles
Funeral directors are always in a unique position to help survivors of suicides cope with their loved one being gone. The funeral director plays an important role in providing valuable information to families of such cases, like where to find a support group.
They can also help with planning a dignified funeral, but when it comes to paying out a claim, their hands are tied. Not all suicidal deaths end with a claim not being paid out. Each case is different and determined on its own merits.
All life insurance policies for instance will have a clause in them which excludes this form of death within the first 24 months of taking out the life insurance policy.
Don’t Attempt in the First 24 Months of Policy
Most funeral plans will have a standard suicide clause in the policy wording that lays out that they won’t deal with any such claim in the first two years of a policy.
So your funeral plan policy will have had to be on the insurer’s books for at least two years before they will pay out. Also your premiums will have to be 100% up to date at the time of the claim.
It makes sense that the insurer puts this policy in place to simply protect themselves from the risk of having a policy holder invest in a funeral plan with the sole purpose of doing this and then claiming a pay out.
Insurance Companies Need to be Profitable
Insurance companies, just like any other businesses, are looking for profits. They aren’t going to pay out for unnatural deaths brought on by drugs, alcohol and dangerous activities where you put your life at risk.
Insurers have loopholes such as exclusions to spare themselves having to pay claims that are not ‘proper’. Read your insurance policy carefully before signing it, and speak to an expert to have clarity on what you can claim for.
Suicide claims are denied when the policy holder dies before the contestability period. After the waiting period, then the chances are good the benefit amount can be claimed.
Havoc and Change
Suicide causes havoc in families, but even more so when there is misunderstanding surrounding the payout that is expected, but which is denied, all because you didn’t understand or bother to read the fine print.
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All info was correct at time of publishing