How has COVID-19 affected life insurance?

September 25, 2020

Learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected life insurance, the application process, and insurance premiums

A couple speaking to an agent about how COVID-19 has affected life insurance

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and resulting disease, COVID-19, has significantly changed many aspects of our day-to-day lives. Many of us are now working from home, we disinfect everything, and we do our best to remain healthy. But as we adapt to the new normal, we're often faced with larger questions about the impact of the pandemic, especially when it comes to the financial security of our families. That's why today, we're taking a look at how COVID-19 has affected life insurance.

Can I get a life insurance policy if I have or have had COVID-19?

While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly disrupted or otherwise altered many aspects of our life, most life insurance companies are currently still offering policies.

If an individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and doesn't have any other respiratory, cardiovascular, or endocrine disorders and is otherwise healthy, then eligibility would be more or less the same as it would have previously been. If someone does have medical issues, those would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and would be subject to the same guidelines that existed prior to the pandemic. 

However, while you can likely still purchase life insurance coverage, there are a number of ways the application process may have changed based on the insurance provider. If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, it is possible that coverage would be postponed until after the symptoms have subsided. Similarly, if you had COVID-19 previously, there could be a waiting period following an individual's recovery. 

For example, if you are currently ill and have been positively diagnosed with COVID-19, many insurance companies would require you to wait anywhere from 30-90 days following the end of the symptoms. If you were sick but have since recovered, the same waiting period would take effect following the final day where symptoms were present. 

Additionally, some insurance carriers may have restrictions or waiting periods for those who have done extensive traveling recently, or traveled to areas considered to be higher-risk regions. 

How does COVID-19 affect life insurance premiums?

Calculating life insurance premiums is a complicated process that involves analyzing mountains of data. For this and other reasons, there is no set standard for premiums across various insurance providers. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has had an impact on the insurance industry, but it has affected different insurance companies in different ways. 

As you can imagine, the effect of COVID-19 on a given provider's customer base is a huge factor in whether or not they are they feel the need to raise their premiums. If a certain company has to pay a large number of claims over a short period of time, they may be required to raise premiums to continue providing coverage to the rest of their customers. 

On the other hand, another company with fewer claims over the same period of time might be in a better position to keep premiums the same. However, all insurance providers are paying close attention to the numbers, regardless of whether or not they raised rates.

In part, this is because the long term effects of COVID-19 are yet to be fully understood, and new data is always coming in. As insurance companies analyze claims and assess the financial impact the virus has had, and may continue to have on their policyholders, it is entirely possible that premiums will be affected. 

Will life insurance cover a COVID-19-related death?

In most cases, yes. As you know, the purpose of life insurance is to provide financial stability in the form of a death benefit for your family in the event that you pass while coverage is still in effect. Whether a policyholder has a whole, level term, or decreasing term life insurance policy, their beneficiary would receive a payment should they pass away from COVID-19. 

There are always exceptions, however. For example, in order to receive the death benefit from a life insurance policy the premium payments for that policy must be current. If a policy lapses because the premium hasn't been paid, it is possible for the claim to be denied.

Furthermore, if it is found that a policyholder submitted false or inaccurate information on the initial application, a claim may also be denied. However, this is the case regardless of whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death. 

Lastly, a life insurance claim following a COVID-19 death may be denied if the policy isn't designed to cover illnesses or diseases. For example, if a policyholder only has an accidental death and dismemberment policy, COVID-19 would not be covered. 

When a life insurance claim is filed following the death of a policyholder, there is usually a period of time following the claim in which the insurance company has the ability to investigate the claim, cause of death, and the initial application. For this reason, it is incredibly important to be accurate and detailed when submitting a life insurance application. If you are uncertain what any question is asking, make sure to speak to the agent to be sure. 

Two men with masks bumping elbows to avoid COVID-19 transmission

When you’re filing a claim, great customer service is essential. Since 1896, Germania Insurance has been the Insurance Texans Trust for great coverage and outstanding customer service. But don’t take our word for it! Hear what our customers have to say

To learn more about Germania Life’s life insurance products, visit the Germania Life website here or call 1-800-392-2202 (ext. 2060).

Read more: Now more than ever, it's important to have life insurance coverage. But what happens when your term life insurance policy expires? Read our blog for more information!

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Strategist at Germania Insurance.

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