Image copyright Weibo
The 34-year-old was presumed dead after his car was found in a river, though his body was never recovered.
He did not tell his wife about his alleged plan and she believed he had died.
She later jumped into a pond with their children after writing an online suicide note.
The man, who police said was surnamed He, surrendered himself to police in Xinhua county in Hunan province last Friday.
He has been detained on charges of insurance fraud and intentional damage to property, Xinhua police said in a statement on WeChat - a social media platform. 'Why we had to fake my murder' Ukraine reporter fake killer details plot The MP who faked his death
In early September Mr He bought an insurance plan worth one million yuan (£110,000, $145,000) without his wife's knowledge, police said.
According to a report by state-run Voice of China radio, his wife was named as the beneficiary.
On 19 September, Mr He used a borrowed vehicle to fake his own death in a car crash, police said. He was found to have loans of more than 100,000 yuan.
On 11 October, the bodies of his 31-year-old wife, their four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter were found in a pond near their home, according to the Voice of China.
In a suicide note on WeChat, she wrote that she was coming to "accompany" him, adding that she had "only ever wanted our family of four to be together", the Voice of China added.
Mr He turned himself over to police the next day.
A video which was later widely circulated on Weibo showed Mr He crying and saying that he had borrowed money to pay for treatment for his three-year-old daughter, who suffered from epilepsy. Related TopicsChina
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