When we buy life insurance, we look at it as a safety net for our loved ones. We hope that nothing will happen to us, but in the event that it does, we want those near us to be taken care of, or, at least, not suffer financial on top of emotional hardship.
But when an insurance company sells you a policy, they look at it as a gamble. They have a system that they play, called an actuarial table, that virtually guarantees they will win out over all their policyholders. And it works, if you look at the record profits posted by major insurance companies in recent years. But like most gamblers, insurance companies are not satisfied with just winning—they want to win big, which they do by looking for an excuse to deny every claim, including yours.
One of the most common tactics life insurance companies use to deny your claim is accusing you or your loved one of making a “material misrepresentation” on your application for the policy. This is virtually always done if your loved one passes away during what is called the “contestability period,” or the length of time during which a life insurance company is supposedly reviewing your application to decide if they want to cover you. Often they will claim your loved one misrepresented his or her:
- Alcohol, drug, or tobacco use
- Employment history
- Dangerous hobbies, pastimes, or behavioral traits
- Ownership of other life insurance policies
They can claim that these material representations invalidate the policy, even if they had nothing to do with the cause of death. Thus, they may claim that your policy is invalid because your loved one forgot to declare that they enjoyed rollerblading, even if your loved one died in a car accident.
In these cases, the material misrepresentation is debatable, and an experienced life insurance attorney can make sure the policy is honored even in the face of such claims by the insurance company. With a lawyer on your side, the insurance company is usually eager to settle out of court, but, if not, we are experienced litigators and can fight through a trial, if necessary.
If you have lost a loved one, and have been denied the benefits of life insurance, call an Oklahoma life insurance lawyer at Carr & Carr at 866-510-0580 or contact us online today. Our attorneys have offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and we can also meet you elsewhere.