What Is Unilateral Contract in Life Insurance

As consumers, we often hear about insurance policies that require a monthly or yearly premium payment to secure coverage. However, there are different types of insurance contracts that function in different ways, such as unilateral contracts.

A unilateral contract is a legal agreement in which only one party, usually the insurer, is bound to fulfill certain obligations. In the case of life insurance, a unilateral contract is established between the policyholder and the insurance company. The policyholder agrees to pay a premium, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay a death benefit to the designated beneficiary upon the policyholder`s death.

The insurer`s obligation to pay out the death benefit is conditional on the policyholder`s adherence to specific terms and conditions outlined in the policy agreement. For instance, the policy may include a suicide clause that prohibits the payout of the death benefit if the policyholder dies by suicide within a certain timeframe after the policy`s inception.

On the other hand, the policyholder is under no obligation to use the insurance coverage, and they can choose to cancel or lapse the policy at any time. However, if the policyholder discontinues premium payments or cancels the policy, the insurance company is no longer obligated to provide coverage, and the death benefit will not be paid out.

Unilateral contracts provide flexibility for policyholders, as they can discontinue coverage without any legal consequences. Still, it also puts the burden of risk on the insurer, who must guarantee the payment of the death benefit, even if the policyholder discontinues coverage.

In conclusion, unilateral contracts in life insurance are a legally binding agreement between the policyholder and the insurer, in which only the insurer is under an obligation to provide a death benefit. This type of contract provides the policyholder with flexibility, but it also puts the burden of risk on insurers. Understanding the terms and conditions of your life insurance policy is crucial to ensure that you receive the intended coverage and benefits.

About the Author

Deepak Ghatkar

Joint Secretary, MLSA, Maharashtra State and Founder Member of Mahavidhi Law Students Assocation, Maharashtra.

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