Lives around the globe were disrupted with the sudden appearance of COVID-19 and many of us are settling into a new normal – including me. As the shock wears off and the homeschooling begins, people wonder about their insurance and are asking questions such as: Am I still covered? What if I absolutely have to travel? Can I even get life insurance anymore?
This blog will help answer some of your questions. Bear in mind that these are general guidelines as each underwriter treats the situation differently and the situation continues to evolve.
Life Insurance and COVID-19
If you had life insurance in place before COVID-19 and your beneficiaries must make a claim, most insurers are honoring the claim. COVID-19 was not a pre-existing condition in the past because the virus only recently appeared.
However, now that COVID-19 is part of our lives, it is a pre-existing condition. You can still buy a life a new insurance policy but if your health has been affected by COVID-19, or you have been recently exposed to an affected person, you may be denied, rated, told to wait before applying, or offered a simplified or guaranteed issue policy instead.
When filling out a life insurance application, it is very important to be truthful. If you lie on the application in hopes of not being denied, you risk wasting all your premium money – insurance companies can and do conduct investigations before paying claims as part of their normal procedures. Be truthful as there are options for you regardless of your health or COVID-19 exposure.
It goes without saying that travel is not a good idea right now, but what if you have no choice? What if a family member overseas has passed away, for example?
You cannot get coverage, in most cases, if you intentionally fly to any country that is under a travel advisory for any reason (COVID-19, war, impending natural disaster, etc.).
Most travel insurance companies now consider COVID-19 as a known risk and therefore will not cover health emergencies or travel interruptions resulting from any COVID-19 compilations. If you are fortunate enough to find a flight and apply for travel insurance, you will have to self-insure for any financial hardships you incur that relate to COVID-19. Other health issues/travel interruptions may still be covered. However, travel insurance is one of the most rapidly changing policies right now given the global situation, so be sure to know what you are covered for and what you are not before you fly.
Business Interruption Insurance
Businesses of all sizes have been hit very hard by the pandemic. There may be some relief for companies that have business interruption insurance in place. If you have this policy, now is the time to discuss what claims you can make with your underwriter. If you are a company without business interruption insurance, it is worth considering in the future – especially for small business owners.
Health and Dental Benefits
If you have been laid off or lost your job and your health and dental benefits are ending, you qualify for guaranteed acceptance through a plan like Manulife’s Follow Me. Those with expensive medications should quickly apply since you have just 90 days from the loss of your employer-sponsored benefits to qualify without a medical exam/questionnaire.
If you are past the 90 days but need guaranteed acceptance (no medical or health questions on the application) you still have options, but they will come with a higher premium. To keep cost lower you can consider coverage that excludes a certain condition.
Health/dental policy providers have a range of tiers to match your needs and budget. While most people know of Manulife and Blue Cross, other providers include Sun Life, Canada Protection Plan, and Green Shield. Have a broker shop around for you because prices and coverage vary.
Getting Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
It is possible to get insurance while following isolation or social distancing. Brokers and agents are set up with e-applications that can be signed online and can help you with your application via screen-sharing or even walking you through it over the phone. You can complete the entire process without visiting an insurance office.
Do You Have Questions?
Call volumes are understandably elevated with your insurer right now. Get help and answers about life insurance and COVID-19 faster by calling a broker.
Brokers can help, even if you are not a client of ours. We get packages of information emailed to us from the carriers we represent so we can be a source to answer questions. We are also fully equipped to help you with applications and claims remotely. Brokers are compensated by the insurance company if you buy a policy, so never hesitate to call about questions, applications, or to have your existing policy reviewed. There are no fees to worry about.
The world has changed but please remember, this is not the first pandemic humanity has faced. We will all get through this together. Stay safe, be careful, and don’t lose hope.