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What Is Breach of Utmost Good Faith?

Man pointing at himself while lying

By Byron Udell | March 10, 2017

When it comes to buying life insurance, honesty is the best policy. A “breach of utmost good faith” to your carrier can have catastrophic consequences to your coverage. To find out more, read on.

Insurance, like most contracts between consumers and a business, is built on trust. A common law principle, “utmost good faith,” is a term used to indicate that every person who enters into a contract with an insurance company has a legal obligation to be honest and accurate in the information given. In addition, the insurance company must also be honest in its dealing with the insured.

What is Breach of Utmost Good Faith?

Conversely, a “breach of utmost good faith,” is coined when this trust is broken.  If you, for example, don’t tell your life insurance provider that you used to smoke, then that is a breach of utmost good faith.

It is possible for you to commit a breach of utmost good faith without knowing it.  For example, if a family member died of heart disease and you didn’t mention this when asked by your health insurance provider because you weren’t aware of that fact, this is an innocent breach of faith.  If you were aware of the fact and didn’t fill out forms truthfully, of course, you would be guilty of fraudulent non-disclosure or breach of faith.

What happens if an insurer discovers a non-disclosed fact or a breach of good faith?  First, your insurance policy is null and void. Your provider is no longer obligated to cover you. If the new information is discovered at the same time a claim is made, you may not receive payment of the claim. Depending upon the new information that came to light, your insurance provider may keep you on but charge higher rates or ignore the incident.

The bottom line is, don’t lie. Smart, experienced agents understand life insurance products and which carriers offer what – even if you have some health hurdles.

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