Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Life Insurance
Coronavirus, or Covid-19, is a crucial topic currently, so we have created a short guide to help you understand it, and how it affects life insurance.
Firstly, under current government advice the single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. All people will need to comply with the new guidance and be aware of the 4 exceptions to them.
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.
- High temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – coughing repeatedly for a long period of time
- Shortness of breath
- In severe cases, pneumonia symptoms and organ failure
Pre-existing conditions - what to do if you get it?
If you have a pre-existing condition, especially a respiratory condition or a weakened immune system, then if you were to contract coronavirus it could be more serious for you. A further list of conditions that are more vulnerable to coronavirus are:
- Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis
- Chronic heart disease e.g. heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease e.g. hepatitis
- Chronic neurological conditions e.g. Parkinson’s disease, Motor Neurone Disease, MS, a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- Problems with your spleen e.g. sickle cell or if you have had your spleen removed
- A weakened immune system as a result of conditions like HIV/AIDS or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Being seriously overweight (a high BMI of 40 or above)
- If you are pregnant
The key thing to remember if you have a pre-existing medical condition is to keep taking any prescribed medication i.e. inhaler, tablets etc. as well as reduce your exposure to outside events/people. It is also important that you keep up a good hygiene schedule and remember to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds at a time.
If you do not have to leave your house, it is advised that you don’t to help stop the spread of the virus. This is especially important for people aged 70 and over and those with underlying health conditions due to the increased risk for them if they were to catch coronavirus.
Can i get cover?
Currently, if you were to apply for life insurance it may be slightly trickier than usual. It is still possible to obtain life insurance however many providers are implementing new changes/ questions to their applications and their terms and conditions. If you were applying for life insurance, either level, decreasing or whole of life, depending on your current pre-existing medical conditions, it is highly likely that you will still be able to get cover. However, you should expect to answer questions relating to coronavirus or Covid-19, such as have you been diagnosed with coronavirus, have you displayed any symptoms of coronavirus or have you been around anyone who has symptoms. It is also possible that providers may postpone applications.
For critical illness cover, this is slightly trickier to obtain, and if you have a pre-existing medical condition it may make it even harder. However, providers are still offering critical illness cover out to their customers but like life insurance applications are taking extra care to ask about the virus in your application. It is also worth noting that it is unlikely that coronavirus would be listed as a critical illness in providers terms and conditions; so if you are looking for critical illness cover to protect you in the case of a diagnosis, this will more than likely be ineffective as Covid-19 would not be listed as a critical illness under the policy.
Income protection is similar to critical illness cover and life insurance, providers are adding in questions to their applications surrounding the topic of coronavirus. If you are applying for income protection, many, if not all, providers are implementing exclusions or postponing applications due to the coronavirus so you could not take out income protection and then make a claim on the grounds of coronavirus.
If you purchased your income protection prior to the coronavirus outbreak it is possible that you may be able to make a claim however, with income protection, there is usually a deferment period from the point of which you stop working to the point in which the policy would pay out, typically this will range from four weeks to twelve months so it is important to check your policy before applying for a claim. As a result of this, insurers say that they probably won’t have to pay out on an income protection coronavirus claim as by the time the four-week deferment period is complete, you should have recovered from coronavirus and have returned to work. Furthermore, depending on the terms of your policy, self-isolation may not qualify you for a pay-out. It is important to check your policy details and your insurers terms and conditions to see if they would pay out in the event of a claim due to coronavirus, or on a period of self-isolation not ordered by a medical professional.
With Income Protection many providers are now starting to implement coronavirus exclusions or even deferment periods of around four weeks to ensure that people are not applying for insurance and then immediately making a claim. In this situation it is important to check with the individual provider to make sure that their terms and conditions, and the policy you are applying for covers you for what you need it to.
It should still be possible to obtain travel insurance, however under government advise it is highly advised to stop all non-essential travel for the foreseeable future. If you have an upcoming trip planned and still plan to go on it, it is possible that you will not be covered if you contract coronavirus, or if the virus affects your trip in any other way. Many travel insurance providers will go off government advice so if you are planning a trip to a country that has no risk of coronavirus then your insurance should function as normal, however it is wise to check with your provider to ensure you are fully covered.
It is also possible, if you purchased your insurance before the rise of coronavirus, that your cover will pay out for your travel disruption/cancellations however if you purchase insurance with the intent to claim on grounds of coronavirus it is unlikely that your claim will be valid. When applying for travel insurance it is important to check the terms and conditions of your policy to see if you will be covered against coronavirus.
Pre-existing conditions - can you get covered with some conditions?
It is possible to get life insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, however the amount, term and type of insurance you can get depends entirely on your condition and its severity. If you have a pre-existing condition that the government or NHS has stated are more at risk to coronavirus, this would not stop you from applying for life insurance, however your insurer place a postponement period on your application.
This depends on each providers terms and conditions, so it is important to check before applying for life insurance.
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