Double indemnity is a type of clause often found in life insurance policies. It is a provision that allows a claimant to recover additional money – generally, a double payout – in the event of an accidental death. Unfortunately, insurance companies often prevent clients from receiving the financial recovery they deserve through double indemnity clauses, such as by making it hard to prove that a death was accidental. You may need help with double indemnity from a personal injury lawyer.
What Is Double Indemnity?
Double indemnity refers to a life insurance policy provision that allows claimants to receive larger payouts if the insured individual died as a result of an accident or unintentional injuries. In most cases, double indemnity allows for double or even triple payouts. A death may be classified as accidental for insurance purposes if it stems from any of the following circumstances:
- Act of violence/homicide
- Car or truck accident
- Choking or suffocation
- Defective product or machinery incident
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accident
- Workplace incident
Obtaining benefits through a double indemnity clause generally requires proof that the death was accidental. This may take evidence such as a police report, a coroner’s report, expert witness testimony and medical records. You and your family may also have to go up against the insurance company with a lawsuit to obtain the financial compensation you deserve through a double indemnity clause.
What Issues Might You Encounter With a Double Indemnity Clause?
It is important to realize that the insurance company receiving your claim does not want to maximize your payout. It wants to pay you as little as possible to protect its own profits. The insurance company can come up with many reasons to deny a double indemnity clause. One of the most common excuses is that the death was not accidental. It may be up to you or your personal injury attorney to prove that it was accidental and that you qualify for double indemnity under the insurance policy.
Another excuse insurance companies often give is that the death qualifies as a policy exception. Read the fine print of your life insurance policy to understand the exceptions to your double indemnity clause. Common exceptions are deaths caused by suicide, the decedent’s own negligence or intoxication, natural causes, and murder by one of the beneficiaries listed on the policy.
Finally, your double indemnity clause may be denied if the insurance company is guilty of bad faith. Insurance bad faith is the rejection of benefits or diminishment of a client’s payout without a valid reason. An insurance company may be guilty of bad faith if it knowingly or intentionally mishandles your claim to protect its own profits. If you suspect insurance bad faith, contact an attorney for assistance with a separate bad-faith claim.
How to Handle Your Life Insurance Claim
If you are filing a claim to recover benefits under a double indemnity clause, be careful what you say to the representative in charge. Remember, the insurance company does not have your family’s best interests in mind. Before you accept a life insurance settlement, bring the offer to a personal injury lawyer to confirm that it is a fair and full amount. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company for a fair payout or appeal a denied claim, if applicable.
If your loved one recently passed away under unexpected or preventable circumstances, consult with a wrongful death attorney about your family’s legal rights. An attorney can guide you through a double indemnity clause in your loved one’s life insurance policy and/or represent you during a wrongful death lawsuit in Dallas. An attorney can also help you with an insurance bad-faith claim if your double indemnity clause is wrongfully denied. Learn more today by contacting The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.