Only about one in three contracts issued specifically includes a common accident provision, or what is sometimes called a survivorship clause or common disaster clause. Insurers have designed the clause to avoid inclusion of death benefits in the beneficiary’s estate if he or she dies within a designated period after the insured. Where found, the provisions provide that the principal beneficiary must survive the insured by anywhere from seven to thirty days to receive the policy death benefits. If the principal beneficiary does not survive for the designated period, the policy pays death benefits to the contingent beneficiary. At least one company permits the policyowner, if other than the insured, to change the beneficiary for up to sixty days following the death of the insured.
Reproduced with permission. Copyright The National Underwriter Co. Division of ALM