Each state has different rules for cancellation and policy lapse, and here California law likely applies, so you would be best off posting with a California address not a Missouri address. I cant't speak to California law, because I don't practice there, but generally, if premium is paid monthly then the insurance company doesn't need to give notice to lapse if a premium is missed. Otherwise, the insurance company is obligated to give notice of a policy lapse after a payment is missed and give a 30 day grace period. If payment is not made during that 30 grace period, most carriers will allow the policy to reinstate upon the providing of a completed medical questionnaire showing no change in health conditions. Whether the company here acted properly depends on the type of policy, whether there was cash value, whether the proper notices were sent, and the timing of the payment. You should have the policy and correspondence reviewed by a California Insurance Coverage Attorney.
If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com
Life Insurance is a matter of contract (subject to State Regulations) and you need to get your hand on the actual policy and on the detailed premium statement.
Many policies have a disability waiver provision that will actually waive the premium during a period of disability, so this is one thing to look for, and to question the insurance company about.
Secondly, if there is no disability coverage, it really doesnt matter how long he has had the policy. If the premium is not paid they can cancel the policy as long as they send out the correct notices and give you any applicable advance notice. Look for these provisions also.
This comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The law and its application by the courts is constantly evolving and changing. This discussion is not to be taken as a definitive guide, and should not be relied upon to determine all fact situations. Each set of facts must be examined separately with the current case and statutory law analyzed and applied accordingly.
Without access to the policy and a history of premium payments, it is not possible to know if, in a given case such as yours, the insurance carrier acted properly in denying reinstatement. The provisions of the applicable law must be determined, as well as the terms of the policy. Any cash value in the policy, as well as continuing insurability of the insured, would likely bear on the answer to your questions. Good luck.
The foregoing is a general answer based upon limited information, should not be construed as legal advise, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is the opinion of the writer alone.