What is Double Indemnity?

Both life insurance and accident policies regularly include double indemnity clauses. These clauses stipulate that the insurance carrier agrees to pay twice the policy limit amount in the event of an accidental death. Double indemnity clauses can provide a range of benefits to grieving families, but it is important to understand how insurance carriers handle these clauses and why these claims may be denied.

Double Indemnity Resources


What is Considered an Accidental Death?

First, we need to touch on what “accidental death” actually means. In order to qualify for double indemnity benefits, the loved ones of the deceased will need to prove that the death was accidental. Different insurance carriers have various definitions for accidental death, which can incorporate various types of accidents, intentional acts of violence, as well as the negligence of a third party. In general, we will see that accidental death can include the following:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Drowning
  • Defective machinery incidents
  • Choking
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Murder
  • …and more

Why Do Double Indemnity Claims Get Denied?

There are various reasons why double indemnity clauses get denied. First, it is important to point out that insurance carriers are typically “for-profit” entities that will do what they can to limit the amount of money they pay in a settlement. This is particularly true for a double indemnity claim that will see them paying out much more than they otherwise expected to.

Insurance carriers evaluate double indemnity claims on a case by case basis, and even if a death is accidental, the insurance carrier may have various exceptions for the double indemnity clause.

For example, a homicide will generally qualify as accidental death under most insurance policies. However, if the beneficiaries of the policy are the ones found guilty of the murder, the insurance carrier will likely deny the claim.

Some other common exceptions to double indemnity clauses include:

  • Suicides
  • Deaths from natural causes
  • Deaths caused because they deceased was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their passing
  • Deaths caused by the negligence of the insured person

However, not all denials of double indemnity clauses are justifiable. As we mentioned above, insurance carriers typically do what they can to limit how much money they pay in a settlement. It is not uncommon to discover that an insurance claims adjuster worked diligently to find a reason to deny a claim or find a way to say that the death was not accidental. For example, an insurance claims adjuster may investigate a death and come to the conclusion that a person committed suicide. Even if you do not believe that your loved one did commit suicide, the carrier may still deny the claim.

Contact a Mankato Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you lost someone you love due to an accidental death, you may be expecting a certain payout from a life insurance carrier. However, these claims can become complicated, particularly when there is a double indemnity clause involved. At Knutson+Casey, our team is standing by to help ensure that your family is treated fairly in the aftermath of an accidental death case. Our experienced Mankato wrongful death attorneys will step in and use our resources to fully investigate the claim so we can determine what you are actually owed by the insurance carrier.