Coronavirus and life insurance

Life insurance and coronavirus – what you need to know

By Laura Howard on Thursday

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the life insurance market – but it doesn’t mean you can’t buy cover

Couple having a cup of coffee in the kitchen

First published 4 June


From mortgages to credit cards, the effect of coronavirus on financial products has swept the board.  

But its impact on life insurance – which pays out to protect your loved ones in the event of your death – is perhaps the most important one to understand.

Here are the answers to the most frequently-asked questions around life insurance and coronavirus.

FAQs

Can I still buy life insurance?

Life insurers are still open for business, many have just incorporated coronavirus-related questions into their application process.

Here at MoneySuperMarket, we’ve also added coronavirus into our life insurance comparison to be sure the providers we list are relevant to your needs.

What if I can’t get a policy online?

If we are unable to find providers, we’ll send you through to our partner, independent broker LifeSearch. Its experts, who work closely with a wide panel of life insurers, can provide tailored, specialist advice.

Will a new life insurance policy pay out for coronavirus?

Yes. As things stand, there are no pandemic death-related exclusions within life insurance policies. In other words, any new policy you take out will cover you if you die of coronavirus. 

What about a policy I already have in place?

You should also be fully covered for coronavirus under any life insurance policy you already have in place.

Can I buy life insurance if I have had coronavirus?

Yes – but if it’s been in the last 30 days (which the insurer will ask you in its set of questions), your application will be postponed.

‘Postponement periods’ vary between insurers from two weeks to three months, after which time you can reapply to that insurer. There is nothing to stop you trying a different insurer – but it might be more effective to seek independent specialist advice. Call LifeSearch for free on 0800 3167253 or request advice via its website.

What if I’ve self-isolated, had coronavirus symptoms or been in contact with someone who has?

The same applies. You’ll need to declare it on your application at the relevant question point. If you answer ‘yes’ within the last 30 days, your application will be delayed for the insurer’s postponement period and you will need to reapply then, try a different insurer or seek advice.

Can I get life insurance if I am a key worker?

Yes – but, again, if you have exhibited symptoms within the last 30 days your application will be subject to a postponement period. It’s worth knowing that some life insurers, such as Royal London and AIG, are more receptive to key workers than others.

Can I still buy life insurance without a medical exam?

Yes – but only if your risk profile allows, for example, you are under 50 and in good health.

If you are considered higher risk – or you are looking for a large sum for your age bracket – you may require a health screening. And with social distancing measures, these are currently not taking place.

What happens if I need a medical exam?

Some life insurers may accept existing supporting documentation that you already have access to yourself, such as consultant letters and test results, in place of a medical exam.

LifeSearch will be best placed to advise you of the best providers for this purpose.

Can I still get life insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?

Yes – but depending on the severity it could result in much higher premiums.  Many insurers have become more selective about high-risk applications since coronavirus. If your condition puts you in this category, seek specialist advice.

How does coronavirus affect critical illness claims?

Critical illness insurance policies – whether new or existing – will not pay out if you contract coronavirus as it is not defined as a critical illness by any insurer.

But serious conditions incurred as a result of coronavirus – such as respiratory failure, intubation or life support – are likely be listed as critical illnesses so you would be covered.

However, this is not always the case so be sure to check your policy’s definitions.

What happens if can’t keep up with my life/critical illness insurance payments?

If you are struggling to make payments on your existing life cover due to coronavirus, you will be able to ask your provider for help under rules set down by industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

This could include a temporary reduction in cover, which results in cheaper premiums, and waiving fees for making changes to the policy.

If you can’t come to a workable arrangement, you can ask for a payment deferral of between one and three months – in some cases longer.

You will have to actively make this request before 18 August, when the current support will be reviewed again by the FCA.

You can cancel the policy at any time without penalty but this should be an absolute last resort.

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