Suicide Clause in Life Policies in India: How far legally valid?


Life insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder (assured) and the insurer (insurance company), where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money upon the death of the insured person. In return, the policyholder agrees to pay a stipulated amount (at regular intervals or in lump sums). In a nutshell, life policies are legal contracts and the terms of the contract describe the limitations of the insured events. Specific exclusions are often written into the contract to limit the liability of the insurer. Common examples are claims relating to suicide, fraud, war, riot and civil commotion.
Suicide means a willful and intentional act on the part of the self-destroyer. It includes every act of self-destruction. The position of England and India is different in case of executing a life policy of a person who has committed suicide with a sane mind.
This paper examines the development of law and policy in relation to claims on a life insurance policy where the assured or insured has committed suicide after the commencement of the policy and the effect of suicide clause in a life insurance contract. Is that the present practice of insurance companies to insert a suicide clause in life policies, indirectly promotes commercial suicide in cases of suicide felo de se.

Dubey Vivek