Incontestability clause applies to the majority of life insurance policies. It prevents the supplier from expiration of the coverage for a specified time due to the insured's inaccuracy. It stipulates that after two or three years, the contract will not be annulled due to inaccuracy.
The clause is the strongest security for the policyholder, in contrast to other legal provisions that stand on the side of insurance companies - this principle undeniably stands on the consumer's side.
Insurance companies have been using the Incontestability clause for more than 100 years. It encourages clients to purchase insurance and is also a marketing tool aimed at increasing public confidence in insurance companies. The clause constitutes a security in the insured's financial plan, while providing the insurer with the possibility of checking any false information in the application.
Exceptions to the Incontestability clause:
- if the insured gives the wrong age or gender in the application for insurance, the insurance company can not cancel the policy, but it has the option to adjust the death benefits to reflect true age of the policyholder
- some insurance companies have the option of including a provision that states that the period of validity of one or two years must be completed during the life of the insured
- some insurance companies have the option to cancel the policy if they prove a deliberate fraud
Scope of the Incontestability provision
The law insurance does not say whether the incontestability provision concerns only life insurance or also property insurance. Some argue that it applies in both cases, others that it can only be applied to life insurance. However, it is considered that this provision should apply to life insurance contracts and property insurance:
- First, the provision is in the general section of the insurance law, so it can not be limited to life insurance.
- Secondly, the incontestability clause prevents the insurer from abusing the right to recession.
- Thirdly, the property insurance agreement usually lasts one year, in the case of negotiating - it may be more than two years. So there is no specific reason for the two-year incontestability clause to be used in the case of such a contract.
- Ingram JD., (2005), p.103
- Baker T., Logue KD., (2017)
- Wessling E., (2000), 27.2
- Jing Z., (2016)
- Baker T., Logue KD., (2017), Insurance Law and Policy: Cases and Materials, Wolters Kluwer
- Ingram JD., (2005), Misrepresentations in Applications for Insurance, „U. Miami Bus. L. Rev.“, 14, p.103-112
- Jing Z., (2016), Chinese Insurance Contracts: Law and Practice, Informa Law from Routledge
- Patwardhan, M., & Uma, S. (2015). The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 and life insurance policyholders, „Jindal Global Law Review“, 6.2, p.231-253
- Wessling E., (2000), Contracts - Applying the Plain Language to Incontestability Clauses, „William Mitchell Law Review“, 27.2
- White RW., (2004), Everglades, „Putnam“, p.35
Author: Aleksandra Bizoń