Life Insurance Claim Denied Due to Smoking?

Unfortunately, one of the most common reasons insurance companies refuse to pay a life insurance claim is because the insured smoked, but did not disclose their past or current smoking habit on their initial life insurance application and medical questionnaire.

If your claim was denied due to smoking, we can help. Often it is a matter of showing that there was no fraudulent intent on the part of the insured, or that a past smoking habit had nothing to do with the insured’s cause of death.

Don’t take no for an answer if payment was denied because the insured allegedly lied about smoking. The experienced life insurance lawyers at Boonswang Law have helped thousands of beneficiaries get paid when the insured was a smoker by appealing the life insurance claim denial. Contact us for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We don’t get paid unless we win, so let us help you.

Claim Denied Due to Death within the Contestability Period

The two-year period following the date of purchase of the life insurance policy is called the contestability period. During the contestability period, an insurer can deny beneficiaries’ claims for any mistake or omission they made on the initial life insurance application or medical questionnaire, even if the mistake or omission had nothing to do with the insured’s death.

For example, if the insured did not disclose that they had a smoking habit years ago, and quit, then died of injuries sustained in a car accident during the contestability period, the insurer can deny your claim. If the insured failed to disclose that they currently smoke, and was shot and killed in a hunting accident, the insurer can still deny your claim.

When the alleged misrepresentation is not “material” to the insured’s cause of death, we can often get your claim paid.

Claim Denied Due to Misrepresentation

If the insured died outside the contestability but the cause of death could be linked to undisclosed smoking, your life insurance claim will likely be denied due to misrepresentation. The reason insurers are permitted to deny such claims is that as a matter of public policy, people applying for life insurance should be dissuaded from lying about their health or lifestyle habits just to get a lower premium payment.

We have gotten many such claims paid because we can show that the insured did not act with fraudulent intent in failing to disclose smoking. We have also gotten claims paid when the insured’s smoking habit had nothing to do with the cause of death.

Case Study – If No Intent to Deceive, No Misrepresentation

Where an insured died of natural causes but the insurer denied the claim because questions on the initial application were not answered correctly, we were able to get that claim paid because those answers did not show that the insured acted with the intent to deceive, and the answers were not material to the insured’s cause of death.

Claim Denied Due to Agent Mistake or Negligence

It is all too common for an insurance agent to complete an application and medical questionnaire on behalf of the insured, to make a mistake that the insured does not find or know about, and then for the insurer to deny beneficiaries’ claims due to alleged misrepresentation on the part of the insured.

Case Study – Settling for the Death Benefits Minus the Increase in Premiums the Insured Would Have Paid.

An agent made a mistake that recorded the applicant’s age as seven years younger than he was. We were able to get our beneficiary client paid the death benefits minus the amount the insured would have paid in premiums had his age been recorded correctly. This same theory might apply to get you paid when the insured smoked, but did not disclose it on the application.

Case Study – Agent Negligence or Mistake.

An insured disclosed to his agent that he used to smoke but quit a few months prior. His agent responded that the question about smoking did not apply because the insured had recently quit. The agent also did not record related information about the applicant’s COPD and Hepatitis C. The insured signed the application verbally and did not have a chance to proofread the agent’s work.

Although the insured died from smoking-related complications, the agent knew about past smoking and present related conditions yet did not record them. We got our client beneficiary paid because the insurance agent’s knowledge is imputed to the insurance company.

Don’t Take No For An Answer! We Can Help Get You Paid When the Insured Smoked

The life insurance beneficiary lawyers at Boonswang Law have dealt with thousands of claim denials over the years, and smoking has figured prominently among the reasons for denying a claim. What might seem like a cut-and-dried case of lying on the part of the insured may be an innocent mistake, a mistake or negligence by the insurance agent, or have nothing to do with the cause of death. In any case, we will find out and help you fight back.

Have questions about life insurance claims being denied due to vaping or occasional cigar smoking? We can help you with that too. Call us and find out how to appeal your life insurance claim denial.

Written By: Chad Boonswang
Chad G. Boonswang, Esquire is a litigation lawyer based in Philadelphia, PA. Selected as an ASLA 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top 100 Litigation Lawyer, Mr. Boonswang plays to win. As a lawyer, athlete, and scholar, he has always put in the energy, time, and commitment to be the best. After working for several prominent law firms in Philadelphia, including Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, he founded his own practice in 2002.  Since then Chad has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients from life insurance claims and catastrophic injury cases.  Year after year, he has earned a 10.00 Superb rating on Avvo.

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