I might have made a mistake on my insurance policy application years ago. Is there any way I can know for sure whether or not my life insurance policy is still valid?

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2015

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UPDATED: Jun 11, 2015Fact Checked

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Asked June 11, 2015

1 Answer


To protect the interests of both parties, life insurance policies use something known as a contestability period to designate the period of time that can elapse before a policy must be honored by the insurance company. If mistakes are discovered during the contestability period, the insurance company has the right to void the policy, but if the mistake is not discovered until after that period has expired, the mistake cannot be held against you.

Mistakes on life insurance applications are common, and include such things as an incorrect birth date, omitted illnesses, and other things. While you are expected to take care in filing the application, insurance companies understand that accidents happen, and are willing to accept corrections up until the contestability period has expired. To make a correction during that time, contact your insurance agent or customer service and explain the error to them. You will then be advised of the best way to have the mistake corrected.

The type and seriousness of the mistake will play a part in whether your policy will be corrected or canceled when the mistake is found. For minor mistakes such as your date of birth, the insurance company can simply enter the corrected age and recalculate your premiums based on the new age. For errors such as omitting a serious health challenge or leaving out risky conditions or behaviors such as diabetes or skydiving, the insurance company will have the discretion of canceling the policy or re-issuing the policy with the new facts included.

In most cases, the contestability period is between 6 months and 2 years, with an average length of 1 year. Even if you intentionally left out a bit of important information, you don't have to worry about your policy being voided after the time has gone by. If the mistake you are talking about happening 'years ago' is more than 1 to 2 years old, you have little or nothing to worry about from the insurance company.

Answered June 16, 2015 by Anonymous

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