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Can a life insurance company cancel or refuse to pay a policy because of lack of payment which wasn't the persons fault.

Boston, MA |

my father passed away last year and in 2011 he failed to make a payment on a insurance policy. back then there were people stealing his money and taking his money. he is usually right on time with his bills at all times. is there something we can do to fight the insurance company?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

You are asking about a lapse. There is much case law on this. Google "life insurance lawyer" and tell the lawyer you have a lapsed policy denial.

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It depends. If your father died within six months of the missed payment, you may be able to collect the policy value minus the missing payments. If your father made additional payments after the missed one that were accepted by the company, you may be able to collect the policy value. But if the last payment was made in 2011 and time passed and the policy was properly cancelled, then the reason he missed the payments doesn't matter.

If there were people who were mismanaging his money for him and whose responsibility it was to ensure bills were paid and those people let the policy lapse...perhaps there is a cause of action against them. But if it is simply that money was stolen by someone who had no fiduciary duty to your father and the subsequent lack of money cause him not to keep current and the policy lapsed, it is unlikely that you would prevail against the thief for the value of the life insurance. But only an attorney who sits down with you and is privy to all the particulars would be able to tell you for sure.


As my colleague has so thoroughly explained, there are few circumstances under which non-payment of insurance premiums do not void the policy. However, the devil is in the detail. Have a local estate's attorney review your facts and circumstances, as well as documentation.

You best hope lies with a good attorney.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney


I am sorry for your loss, but, generally speaking, if the last payment was made in 2011, and the policy was properly lapsed, the reason he missed the payments is not relevant. Nevertheless, it wouldn't hurt for you to sit down with a MA attorney and give him or her the full facts and the policy for review to ensure there is not something unusual that would allow for a different result.

This information is subject to the disclaimer below.

This is general information based upon limited facts, should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The author is licensed in Indiana and Ohio attorney only.