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What Is Double Indemnity?
Life insurance and accident policies often include a double indemnity clause, under which the insurance company agrees to pay twice the policy amount in case of an accidental death. While double indemnity can provide a number of benefits to grieving families, not all Washington insurance policies honor this agreement.
What Qualifies as an Accidental Death?
To qualify for double indemnity benefits, you will need to prove that your loved one’s death was accidental. Different insurance companies have different definitions for accidental death, which may encompass a number of accidents, intentional acts of violence, and negligence on behalf of a third-party.
Typically, a death that occurs out of the control of the insured qualifies as accidental. Common types of accidental death include the following.
Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Double Indemnity Claims?
An insurance company evaluates double indemnity claims on a case-by-case basis. Even if the death qualifies as accidental, your loved one’s policy may outline certain exceptions for double indemnity coverage.
For example, murder generally qualifies as accidental death under many insurance policies. However, if one of the beneficiaries of the policy murders the insured, the company will likely deny your claim.
Other common exceptions include suicide, death from natural causes, or instances where the insured was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of his or her death. If the insured’s negligence led to his or her death, the company will likely deny the claim as well.
While these exceptions may seem logical, not all double indemnity denials are justifiable. Since it is not in the company’s best interest to pay double the amount of the policy, an adjuster may try to find a reason to deny the claim or claim the death was not accidental.
For example, an insurance adjuster may investigate your loved one’s death and come to the conclusion that he or she committed suicide. Even if you believe your loved one’s death was an accident, the company’s conclusion will likely prevent you from receiving double indemnity benefits.
What You Should Do If an Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
An insurance company may find a number of reasons to deny a double indemnity claim. However, you may be able to appeal the claim with the help of an attorney.
Your attorney will have the resources and network necessary to launch a full investigation into your loved one’s death, collecting the necessary evidence and testimony to prove the death was accidental. Your lawyer can also represent you and your family during negotiations with the insurance company, utilizing rhetorical strategies to advocate for your maximum possible compensation.
Another way to prevent a double indemnity denial is to hire a Washington insurance attorney to handle your claim from the beginning. Your lawyer can provide a number of benefits for your case, including the following.
- Access to expert witnesses who can provide testimony with your claim
- Experience working with different insurance companies
- The ability to interpret and translate confusing insurance policies
- Knowledge of Washington double indemnity law and insurance requirements
Handling a double indemnity insurance claim or appeal can be difficult without an attorney on your side. If you have not done so already, contact a Seattle wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your loved one’s story and begin the claims process.