What is Double Indemnity?

Many accident and life insurance policies in the Washington area include a double indemnity clause. Under this type of clause, the insurance carrier agrees to pay double the policy amount in the event an accidental death occurs. Here, we want to discuss why a double indemnity clause is important and how this could affect your particular situation.

What Qualifies as an Accidental Death for Double Indemnity?

In order to qualify for double indemnity benefits, individuals will have to show that their loved one’s death was an accidental one. Insurance carriers will have various definitions for accidental death, as there is no universal definition for this among the carriers. Typically, we will see that accidental deaths encompass various types of accidents, acts of violence, and negligence from a third party.

We will often see that accidental deaths are those that are out of the control of the insured. Some of the most common types of incidents that would allow a double indemnity claim include the following:

  • Homicide
  • Premises liability incidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Accidental drowning
  • Defective product incidents
  • Choking

If you are unsure about whether or not your particular situation will apply for a double indemnity claim from your loved one’s insurance policy, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.

Would Insurance Carriers Ever Deny a Double Indemnity Claim?

Insurance carriers look out for their bottom line, which means often paying less compensation than they should or even denying a claim altogether. An insurance carrier is most certainly going to scrutinize a claim in which they have to pay double the policy amount. Even if a death does qualify as accidental, there may be certain exceptions under the insurance carrier’s policy, or the carrier could deny a claim in bad faith.

Let us suppose that a person loses their life as a result of murder, which would typically qualify for double indemnity benefits. However, if one of the beneficiaries of the policy was the one who committed the homicide, the insurance carrier would likely rightfully deny the claim.

Other common exceptions to a double indemnity claim include death by natural causes, suicide, or incidents where the insured was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their death. If the actions of the insured individual led to their death, even if the death was accidental, then the insurance carrier will likely deny the claim.

Insurance carriers will most likely send a claims adjuster to investigate the death and reach a conclusion in the case. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled wrongful death attorney who has experience handling double indemnity claims.

If the insurance carrier does deny the claim, you may be able to appeal the decision. An attorney will be able to use their resources to launch a complete investigation into the death and help gather the necessary evidence and testimony to show the death was accidental. A wrongful death lawyer will represent you and your family in court against the insurance carrier, and they will handle any negotiations related to the claim.