Life Insurance Exclusions Guide For 2024

Elaine Brookes Steve Case

Author: Steve Case - Insurance Expert

Reviewed & Fact Checked By: Elaine Brookes

Updated: 24th March 2024

life insurance exclusions

When you take out life insurance, a safety net immediately appears to secure your family from a financial fall.

However, in the event of your death, a policy provider may not provide the agreed coverage due to a discovered policy exclusion. Your family’s safety net has been jeopardised, and there is no one and nothing left after your passing to help them out. 

Such a worrying situation can be avoided if you pay attention to details in your insurance coverage. Policy providers will want to know information about your health—whether you smoke, drink, or have a pre-existing condition—and you should use their strategy against them.

Ask the questions you think you have or do not have answers for.  

In particular, go ahead and ask them what life insurance exclusions are and which may apply to your case. If you’ve already taken out life insurance, don’t worry. Now, it is Insurance Hero’s responsibility to divert you from possible avoidable risks. 

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What Are the Life Insurance Policy Exclusions?

Life insurance is a financial product that provides financial protection to your loved ones in the event of your death. It is an important consideration for anyone with dependents or outstanding financial obligations, as it can help ensure that their needs are taken care of even in your absence.

However, it’s important to understand that life insurance policies come with exclusions, which are circumstances under which the policy will not provide coverage.

These exclusions can vary depending on the policy and the insurance company, but some common exclusions are found in many life insurance policies.

It’s important to carefully review the exclusions in your life insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered. This will help you make an informed decision about the level of protection that is right for you and your loved ones.

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Typical Life Insurance Exclusions

Health and Lifestyle Causes

Life insurance policies can exclude coverage for certain medical conditions or treatments if they are related to health and lifestyle causes (especially if a policyholder hadn’t informed the agency before taking out the insurance). 

This means that if you have a medical condition that is considered to be the result of unhealthy habits or lifestyle choices, your insurance company may result in a failed claim after your death.

Some examples of health and lifestyle causes that may be excluded from coverage include:

  • Mental health problems 
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet or nutrition
  • Heart problems 

It’s important to understand that every insurance policy differs, and exclusions can vary widely. It’s always a good idea to carefully review the terms of your policy and to discuss any concerns you have with your insurance provider.

High-Risk Occupations

Some occupations can be more dangerous than others, which may result in some insurance providers refusing to insure you.

If they do, your monthly premiums will likely be higher than usual. Higher premiums result from insurance companies taking a risk to insure you for what may seem to them to be the short term. 

These occupations may include:

Make sure your life insurance doesn’t exclude your family’s post-death claim if the nature of your work caused your death.  

Instead, it may be better to consider specialised life insurance at Insurance Hero.  

Illegal Activity/Fraud

If the policyholder provides false information on their life insurance application, the policy may be void and not provide coverage.

Upon your death, your policy provider takes time to investigate the cause of your death. If it is concluded that an undisclosed illness caused your death, they will have a right to refuse the payout to your family. 

The same rule applies if your death happens during any illegal activity. It can be related to dealing drugs, stealing possessions, etc. Your beneficiaries will not have the right to claim the benefits.  

Extreme Hobbies

Suppose the policyholder engages in dangerous activities such as skydiving or rock climbing and dies as a result of those activities. In that case, the policy may not provide coverage (unless it is insurance that was chosen for these very activities). 

Your thirst for adrenalin shouldn’t be taken away from you just because you want your beneficiaries to claim death benefits. There are other options to choose from at Insurance Hero that will get your family out of financial hardship should you die. 

When applying for alternative insurance, you will be asked a few questions, including:

  • How many years have you been practising your extreme kind of sport?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Do you perform high-risk activities alone or in a group? 

Unlike standard life insurance, a specialised one wouldn’t have any restrictions or exclusions regarding your favourite hobby.

Substance Abuse

If the policyholder’s death is caused by alcohol or drug use, the policy may not provide coverage. Policy providers always ask about present addictions and smoking status when taking out insurance.

The fact that a policyholder smokes or excessively drinks may be considered high risk – thus resulting in higher premiums, too. 

Other habits that may be harmful to your health should also be disclosed. Although your policy will end up being more expensive, your beneficiaries will be able to make a claim.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply if the cause of your death is drug, smoking, or alcohol abuse


Most life insurance policies exclude suicide from coverage. This means that if the policyholder takes their own life within a certain period of time after the policy goes into effect (usually two years), the policy will not pay out. 

Generic Illnesses or Pre-Existing Conditions

Some life insurance policies exclude coverage for deaths caused by pre-existing medical conditions. This means that if the policyholder had a medical condition when the policy was purchased and later died due to that condition, the policy may not pay out.


Life insurance policies often exclude coverage for deaths resulting from war or acts of war. 

Military service employees usually pay higher premiums than those working in an office. Travelling to conflict zones and facing danger there make this occupation one of the riskiest.

Therefore, one of the best solutions to protect your family financially would be to take out insurance coverage for military personnel.   

How to Avoid Exclusions in Insurance?

There is little chance of you avoiding all of the exclusions in your life insurance. Policy providers use them as their own personal safety net to secure themselves from clients’ fraudulent activities or facts that were not agreed upon (e.g., coverage in the event of suicide or non-disclosed information). 

Nevertheless, there are four things you can do to avoid policy exclusion being used against your family.

Search for a Reliable Policy Provider

Different insurance companies may have different exclusions and requirements, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare policies from multiple companies. This will help you find a policy that meets your needs and provides the level of coverage you need.

At Insurance Hero, you can company the leading life insurance companies with a few clicks of your mouse. Simply request a free quote and answer a few questions. 

Read the Tiny Print 

When taking out the insurance, make sure to read and understand the terms of it. Mark anything that you think is important and note things that may jeopardise the claim in the future. 

Carefully review a policy’s exclusions and other terms and conditions before you purchase it. Don’t be afraid to ask your insurance provider anything that worries you. 

Disclose Essential Information 

It’s important to be honest and transparent when applying for life insurance. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or engage in high-risk activities, be sure to disclose this information to the insurance company.

Failing to disclose relevant information could result in your policy being voided in the event of a claim.

By hiding information about your health or extreme hobbies, you risk wasting money on monthly premiums and losing coverage money for your family. Even though your monthly premium can be increased if you disclose such information, your family will have financial prosperity. 

Consider Specialised Coverage

If you engage in high-risk activities or have a pre-existing medical condition, it may be worth considering a specialised life insurance policy that provides coverage for those circumstances. 

Keep in mind that these policies may have higher premiums and may have specific requirements you must meet. However, by disclosing your health problems or life-threatening activities that you practice, you won’t risk losing the claim.

At Insurance Hero, you can check policy providers for people practising extreme sports, risky professions (e.g., firefighters), and those with existing health conditions (e.g., cancer, diabetes, etc.). 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do life insurance policy exclusions make premiums more expensive? 

In general, the exclusions listed in a life insurance policy will not directly affect the premium or the price you pay for the policy. However, some of the exclusions listed in a policy, such as those related to pre-existing medical conditions or dangerous activities, may be used by the insurance company to justify charging a higher premium.

For example, if you have a pre-existing medical condition or engage in dangerous activities, you may be considered a higher risk to the insurance company, and they may charge a higher premium to cover that risk. On the other hand, if you have a clean bill of health and lead a relatively low-risk lifestyle, you may be able to get a lower premium on your life insurance policy.

It’s worth noting that life insurance premiums can also be affected by other factors, such as your age, gender, and health status, as well as the type of policy you choose and the coverage amount you need.

Is there coverage for high-risk activities? 

It is possible to purchase life insurance coverage for high-risk activities, but it may be more difficult to find and may be more expensive than a policy that does not cover such activities.

Insurance companies generally classify certain activities as high risk based on the likelihood of injury or death and may be hesitant to offer coverage for them. For example, activities such as skydiving, hang gliding, and rock climbing are considered high-risk, and Insurance Hero has dedicated insurance providers for extreme sports enthusiasts. 

These policies may have higher premiums and may require the policyholder to meet certain criteria, such as having a certain level of experience or training in the activity.

It’s important to carefully review the exclusions in any life insurance policy and to consider your personal needs and circumstances when deciding what coverage is right for you. If you engage in high-risk activities and are concerned about being adequately protected, it may be worth considering a specialised life insurance policy.

Where are exclusions written in the policy?

Exclusions are typically listed in the “exclusions” or “limitations” section of a life insurance policy. This section outlines the circumstances under which the policy will not provide coverage.

Insurance Hero encourages policyholders always carefully to review the exclusions. Exclusions can vary depending on the policy and the insurance company, so it’s a good idea to read through the policy carefully and ask your insurance agent any questions you have.

In general, it’s a good idea to thoroughly understand all the terms and conditions of a life insurance policy before you purchase it. This will help you make an informed decision about the level of protection that is right for you and your loved ones.

Will life insurance payout a claim for suicide? 

The death that was inflicted by a policyholder is one of the circumstances when the payout cannot be claimed by the beneficiaries. Although a life insurance claim is supposed to be paid out in the event of your death, there are some exclusions, suicide being one of them.  

What information should you give your insurance provider?

To avoid problems in the long run and ensure financial security for your family, you should tell your insurance provider everything and more. What it means is to answer all the questions truthfully and inform about your smoking/drinking habits, hobbies, illnesses, etc. Ideally, you should disclose everything that is relevant to your life insurance. 

Provided you hid or forgot to mention a generic condition or high-risk occupation, your beneficiaries may not be able to claim the payout. 

Some of the things you must remember to tell about are:

  • Hobbies 
  • Generic or pre-existing conditions 
  • Nature of your work 
  • Alcohol, smoking, and drug consumption 
  • Your mental health

Do you need a medical to apply for life insurance? 

Depending on the cover amount, you may be required to undergo a medical checkup. This is especially true if you have stated an illness, and your insurer may want to know more about it. 

In other cases, your insurer will only need to look at your medical history. Don’t worry – your medical history can only be accessed with your consent. Ask your GP to provide you with the necessary documents to show your insurer. 

Some life insurances – for example, over 50’s life insurance cover – do not require a medical. 

Life Insurance Exclusions

Exclusions are a standard part of any agreement you make; therefore, it is always important to read the “fine print” before signing anything. When it comes to exclusions in life insurance, they include certain limitations when beneficiaries cannot claim a monetary benefit. 

Common types of exclusions include fraud, taking your own life, abusing substances, or dying due to dangerous activities. If your hobby or occupation is considered high-risk, you might want to consider taking out insurance coverage specifically for those situations. This way, you don’t risk leaving your family empty-handed and won’t worry about restrictions. 

The biggest disadvantage of life insurance exclusions is to have your beneficiaries rejected from claiming a death benefit. All the premiums paid will go to nought, and your family will have to pay for the mortgage or debts by themselves. 

At the same time, insurance is a great way to insure yourself and guarantee financial stability for your family – however, you risk losing it if you lie, inflict self-damage, or do anything that goes against your policy rules.