UPDATED: May 5, 2020
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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has surprised and rocked the world to its very core. Starting with a handful of cases in Wuhan, China, the new virus has spread across the world, infecting over 1.5 million people and killing over 90,000 as of April 8, 2020. This pandemic has led many to wonder — does life insurance cover coronavirus?
In this article, we’ll take a look at how life insurance companies are responding to this crisis with both new and existing policies and what consumers need to know about the novel coronavirus and how COVID-19 could affect your life insurance coverage. We’ll also guide you through top term life insurance policies and companies that will be able to offer unique assistance during this trying time.
Get the coverage you need to protect your loved ones during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Start now by clicking on the FREE life insurance quote tool above to get access to cheap rates.
Can I get life insurance if I have coronavirus?
With over 500,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has no signs of slowing soon, and in the meantime, it has a lot of people wondering about how the coronavirus outbreak affects their life insurance rates.
Faced with this confusing new world, we’re facing a lot of uncertainty about our lives and the lives of those around us. Many people who had previously not considered the option may now see the value of a life insurance policy. The current pandemic and risk to public health might also add more confusion to a process that can already throw some for a loop.
If you’re not a global health expert, COVID-19 probably came as a surprise disruption to your everyday life. It was even more of a surprise if you found yourself as one of the unlucky people who caught it. If you’re sick with coronavirus, you may start considering what could happen if the virus takes a toll for the worse.
While life insurance planning is is a must during a pandemic or similar situations, you won’t find any insurer that will give you a policy while you have a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
But the uncertainty of the illness isn’t the reason you’re likely to get denied life insurance with coronavirus. Even before the current global pandemic, insurers won’t give a policy to those with pre-existing conditions.
Insurers will often take a look at your current and past health status and if you have anything that sticks out as worrisome, you will likely be denied a policy. Given the uncertain prognosis of those currently with COVID-19, the insurance underwriter won’t even consider you for a policy due to the small, albeit noticeable, percentage of those who die from the virus.
It’s not all bad though. Quarantine and rest until you’re better, and apply again to have a much better shot at getting a policy.
Continue reading as we break down what’s happening and why insurers won’t give you a policy if you are diagnosed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Does life insurance cover deaths from coronavirus?
Had the life insurance industry seen coronavirus coming, they would have likely enacted some provision that would prevent them from paying out in the influx of upcoming coronavirus death claims.
However, if you already have a policy in progress and were to die from COVID-19, it’s good news. Death claims will be honored as long as your premiums are paid up and your policy is in good standing, as with any other illness that might end your life prematurely.
Some current policies and any in the future are being written with exclusions preventing the insurer from having to pay out if you die as a result of the pandemic or other respiratory conditions during this time, even if you are currently healthy. This is important to ask about so you don’t get left out in the rain if the unfortunate were to happen.
Will the coronavirus pandemic affect life insurance rates?
The current coronavirus pandemic has thrown everyday life as we know it out the window. Instead, we are having to make sacrifices and accommodations that we never have had before. It’s no surprise that people are curious about how coronavirus will affect their life insurance premiums.
However, have no fear. As of yet, there are no insurers that have adjusted their rates due to the pandemic. That being said, there is no telling what kind of effect this will have as we see the events play out. Economic fallout or adverse effects from the influx of deaths may cause insurers to reevaluate their premiums.
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How to Buy Life Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This pandemic has caused many Americans to think about their mortality and the chance they could die prematurely if infected with the novel coronavirus. With people dying every day, it should come as no surprise that more people are expected to be buying life insurance in the coming months.
This is also not a new phenomenon.
The only pandemic that is still comparable to coronavirus, the 1918 Spanish flu, saw an 80 percent increase in insurance sales during that pandemic.
As people become more aware of their mortality and the financial risks that are associated with that, they want to ensure that their families have nothing to fear should the worst happen. COVID-19 will likely bring a similar surge of policies as we see the effects of this new disease.
Now that we know more people tend to think about their mortality and purchase life insurance during pandemics, let’s talk about how you can go about getting a policy if you don’t already have one in force.
Can I apply for a policy during the coronavirus pandemic?
If you’re healthy and haven’t had COVID-19, you are likely to be able to apply for a policy just as you would before the outbreak, albeit this time you’ll do it remotely. You will be subject to the normal underwriting guidelines with maybe a few virus-related questions added in.
If you’ve recovered from the coronavirus or you currently have it, you may still apply but the insurer may be hesitant about giving you a policy until you recover, or they have more information about your health as a whole.
Since coronavirus damages your lungs in more severe cases, underwriters might note that long-term effect on your lungs during the underwriting process for a new life insurance policy.
Types of Life Insurance You Can Buy During Coronavirus Pandemic
While you can most likely get any type of policy during the coronavirus pandemic, given that you’re healthy, some policies might be better suited to get you through these uncertain times.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance lasts for a specific period in your life, as opposed to permanent life insurance, which lasts for your lifetime. Term life insurance coverage is calculated by the number of decades. This period is usually several decades and is perfect to last you until this crisis is over and then some.
However, if you run out of coverage and want another policy, then you’ll have to reapply, and it will automatically cost more to cover that risk
However, this policy may be subject to strict underwriting that is currently unavailable until some of the social distancing is reduced. This will leave you without coverage even longer while you wait for your medical exam. In the meantime, this video can help you prepare for your appointment.
You can help make sure you get plenty of rest and eat a healthy meal before you go to the medical exam. You can also help your chances by cutting out the caffeine and cigarettes before your exam.
No-Exam Term Life Insurance
As mentioned above, this policy is only good for a limited amount of time, and getting new coverage after it expires will automatically cost you more.
This option is almost the same as standard term life insurance, except no medical exam term life often requires higher coverage amounts. To qualify for this, an underwriter will need to make sure you don’t have any outlier risks that might cause an early demise.
You can qualify for this type of policy if you quit any bad habits and get in shape before you apply for the policy. Finally, something to do in quarantine.
Factors That Affect Life Insurance Premiums
Insurers determine a client’s rates based on several risk factors. These risks can be in your job, your hobbies, or hidden somewhere in your family medical records. To find this data, an insurance company will hire someone called an underwriter to make sure there are no red flags in your records before the company insurers your life.
Below we break down some common considerations so you can prepare for the underwriting part of your policy.
While we are all beautifully different, two factors will affect all of our life insurance premiums. Age and gender have a large impact on our health and so insurers take them into account when determining your policy rates.
Your age is important because as we age, we become more susceptible to illness and injury.
Those currently most susceptible to the coronavirus outbreak are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
This might make getting a policy harder, or there will be a stipulation that won’t payout if you die from coronavirus.
Your gender will be considered because on average, men die sooner than women. This can be attributed to the reckless behavior of other lifestyle choices. There are also preliminary studies that show men are being more affected by coronavirus as compared to their female counterparts.
Where you live can also affect your life insurance premiums. And as our research has shown, some states are better prepared to face the coronavirus pandemic.
Current Health & Family Medical History
Since your insurance underwriter looks at the chance you will die during the life of your policy, it should come as no surprise that your health and the health of your family will be considered based on how it affects your policy.
If you have any underlying risks or problems that come up during underwriting, it will be that much harder for you to get a policy.
Likewise, if your family has a history of chronic illness or other serious diseases, you will likely be barred from getting a policy, or you will at least have to pay to cover that risk. If you or your family have any history of illness that makes you more susceptible to the new coronavirus, you are likely to face more problems in getting a new policy.
If you have a major medical condition, have no fear, some policies will even cover common disorders like epilepsy.
Those with dangerous jobs risk their lives every day to ensure that society keeps moving. However, it should come as no surprise that jobs that pose a risk to your life will not be looked at favorably by your insurer.
If you put your life on the line every day, you can expect to pay higher premiums or to be barred from a policy altogether.
If you have any of the following jobs from this video, you can expect insurers to charge you much more for your monthly coverage.
Recycle and trash collectors handle all of the stuff that we don’t want to deal with, and that also comes with hazards. Dangerous chemicals can mix or leak onto the employee and cause illness.
Also, spending most of their time in a large, cumbersome vehicle can set the stage for all sorts of transportation incidents that end badly for the waste management employees.
Roofers are also one of the more dangerous jobs to find yourself in. Working all day in the hot sun can be damaging to the skin and your health as a whole. Besides heat stroke and skin disease, most roofers work without protective gear that would keep them from falling large distances.
This lack of protective gear can lead to serious injury or death. Carrying shingles up ladders is a hard job that can only be understood by those who have done it, just like the injuries.
Aircraft pilots and engineers are also susceptible to occupational hazards. It should come as no surprise that flying and working around giant flying hunks of steel can lead to accidents that end badly for those employees.
Actually, transportation accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for those who work in this field. Most accidents happen to private owners and those who work with cargo, but commercial accidents are not unheard of.
Logging workers brave the isolation and uncertainty of nature to provide the lumber for things that we take for granted every day. Falling trees and heavy machinery can lead to all sorts of accidents in the workplace. When you add in the inability to get someone the help they need before it’s too late, the consequences of working in this field can be disastrous.
Fishers also brave nature and the associated isolation to bring us products and food that we love. But while fighting the storms and waves that lash against them, they are more likely to get injured. Heavy machinery used to pull in swaths of fish can be dangerous if mishandled and can also lead to fatalities.
Also, much like pilots and trash collectors, transportation incidents are commonplace. Falling off boats and collisions are the leading cause of transportation incidents in the workplace for fishers.
Just like in your professional life, what you do in your free time could harm your policy. Any bad habits or risk-taking behaviors that put your life in danger will likely cause you to have to pay more each month for your coverage.
The most common high-risk habit is smoking as it has been shown time and time again to cause lung disease, cancer, and many other related illnesses.
If you are a smoker, you’re likely to have to pay up to twice as much when combined with your age.
Did you switch to e-cigarettes to help you stop smoking? Well, that’s bad news as well. Some insurers have started charging vapers just as much as smokers, or they’ve put them in their own more expensive risk category. This is also due to the number of lung illnesses and other diseases that have been found in younger people.
Another type of risk-taking behavior is extreme sports that put you in unnecessary danger. Base jumping, skydiving, and anything else where the risk is what makes it fun will be a hard pass from your insurer.
If you participate in these activities, it is best to be honest with your insurer. If you don’t and you were to die from participating in an extreme sport, your insurer would not have to pay out the death benefit due to your dishonesty.
If you have a need for speed, you should take care to keep from any bad marks on your driving record. Any accidents or traffic tickets will cause your insurer to second guess how safe you are on the road. If you have a bad driving record, you should make sure that you have taken the time to improve your record before you apply for the policy.
Veterans or Active Military Status
Our soldiers are the strong armor of our nation, protecting our freedom both locally and abroad. However, working in the military is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, where active-duty soldiers must face the chance of death every single day at the hand of our nation’s enemies.
That being said, you would be hard-pressed to find a commercial insurer that would let you get a policy. However, there is no reason to fear because the U.S. government offers its own protection for all active-duty soldiers.
The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is automatically applied to all active-duty soldiers.
This coverage even lasts a little while after your active-duty service ends, allowing you time to consider your other options.
Veterans aren’t left out in the dust either. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) for a certain period after active-duty life insurance ends. If you were injured or suffered some impairment during your active-duty service, you can apply for an extension before you have to apply for the VGLI.
Top Providers for Life Insurance
To help you find a company that will help you with your life insurance needs, we have compiled a list of the top-rated life insurance companies during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.Top 10 Life Insurance Companies by Market Share
|New York Life||5.68%|
|Minnesota Mutual Group||2.70%|
The companies with higher market shares have been able to achieve their success through perseverance and making sure that they maintain the service that has kept their customers coming back.
Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates
Curious about what you can expect to pay? See the rating tables below that show what you can expect to pay for your premiums. We have also compared them to last year so you can understand how the increase may affect premiums in the future.
Here are the rates for non-smokers from John Hancock in 2019:John Hancock Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Non-Smokers by Age and Gender (2019)
In 2020, their rates went up slightly, as one would expect from year to year. However, as you can see, non-smoker rates are still very affordable even into senior age. See in the table below:John Hancock Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Non-Smokers by Age and Gender (2020)
As you can see, rates for non-smokers are still very affordable. Below you will see rates from 2019 and 2020 from Transamerica for smokers.TransAmerica Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Smokers by Age and Gender (2019)
The rates in 2019 were much higher, even making it all the way into triple digits as you reach senior age. Now see how they have increased in the last year.TransAmerica Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Smokers by Age and Gender (2020)
Premiums are going up and will continue to do so, so getting a policy while you can is imperative. Put down the cigarettes before you apply, and you can find yourself saving your life as well as on your premiums.
The Bottom Line
Coronavirus caught everyone off guard. Lives and society have been changed forever by the current pandemic, so it is natural for people to have questions about how their finances and future might be affected. However, the good news is that life insurance has remained mostly unchanged.
If you were worried about being able to apply for life insurance during the pandemic, have no fear. As long as you are still healthy, you can apply for a new policy in the same way that you would have before the world got turned upside down and know that your life insurance covers coronavirus.
If you currently have COVID-19, you will be denied any kind of new policy. This is because you can’t be accepted to a life insurance policy if you currently have a pre-existing condition that is a threat to your life.
Being that the coronavirus has uncertain effects and a chance of death, your application will be denied.
You should take care of yourself, get some rest, and apply once you are feeling better.
If you die from coronavirus, your beneficiaries will still get your death benefit. Because the current pandemic was such a surprise, it is being treated as death from any other illness. However, insurers are beginning to write exceptions into their new policies regarding death from COVID-19 or related respiratory distress.
But have no fear: we’re going to get through this crisis by being there for each other and taking the necessary precautions. As long as we stand together, we will succeed.
Don’t wait to get coverage. Now is the time to act. Use our FREE quote tool below to compare no-exam term life insurance rates and rest easy knowing that your loved ones are protected during these difficult times.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Does life insurance cover coronavirus?
You may still have questions about life insurance and COVID-19, so we will address some of those below.
#1 – What is a pandemic?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as a disease that has transferred from animals to humans and then widespread transmission between people in different countries and regions across the globe. Due to the new coronavirus’ ability to transmit with even the slightest contact, it has spread rapidly to every continent.
This pandemic has upended our daily lives and is keeping us from living our lives. For example, here is Google’s reporting on what it has gathered from its customers’ location data in different industries.
As you can see, amid our current pandemic and social distancing measures, industries that are reliant on the gathering of customers and clients in a physical sense have seen their profits plummet. Many stores that have not been deemed essential by the government have been forced to shut their doors until COVID-19 has stopped spreading and killing in such large numbers.
Here are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s stats as they stand on April 8, 2020:Coronavirus Cases and Deaths in the U.S. as of April 8, 2020
This current pandemic can feel like a lot all at once. It’s a stressful time that the whole world is trying to get through together. While you’re waiting for the current crisis to subside, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the spread and protect yourself from the virus and the lonely feelings that come with the new coronavirus.
First and most importantly, we should all take steps to stay safe and keep your home and car coronavirus free.
The next important thing is to take care of your mental wellbeing. During this pandemic, following the news and case counts can drive you insane, and the inability to go out and distract yourself can cause you to be stuck ruminating on all the scary things going on.
Instead, you should take some time for yourself and take a break from the news until you feel like you can manage it. Some more examples of taking care of yourself include taking time to do things you enjoy, setting up a routine, and talking out your feelings with a family member, friend, or counselor.
We’re going to get through this pandemic — not as a country, but as a world.
#2 – Will the life insurance company pay out the death benefit if I die from coronavirus after I get a policy?
Yes, provided you don’t have any underlying conditions that would have also precluded you from a life insurance payout and didn’t lie on your initial application, then your life insurance company will honor the policy and pay out the death benefit.
#3 – Will the life insurance company cancel my policy if I get coronavirus after my policy is approved?
No, provided that you did not lie on your application about having symptoms or even were aware that you had coronavirus, your application should be considered legitimate and true at the time you applied.
However, if you get the coronavirus during the application process, then you must disclose that information during underwriting. As a result, the life insurance company may postpone your application until you have fully recovered and may require some medical proof of your improved state of health, i.e. blood work.
#4 – Does travel affect my ability to get life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, like with most life insurance applications before the COVID-19 pandemic, insurers want to know if you travel abroad. This information will affect the results of the underwriting process, whether that’s quick or lengthy.
Remember, life insurance approvals and rates are based on mortality. So anything that increases your risk of dying will negatively impact your ability to get life insurance and your rate.
#5 – Are there any changes to life insurance policies that will affect me during the COVID-19 pandemic?
In general, no. However, some companies are starting to add an exclusion for deaths related to the coronavirus or respiratory complications, even if you are still healthy now
#6 – Do I have to take a medical exam to get life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic?
No, not necessarily. There are options for a no-medical exam or no-exam term life insurance policies. Keep in mind, your ability to get approved for the no-exam life insurance will be based on your answers to the preliminary questions during the application process.
Also, be advised that rates are typically higher for no-medical exam life insurance policies, although you do get to skip the needles and poking and prodding. But if you’re healthy and want quick life insurance, then it is an option.
#7 – What will happen if I lie on my application?
The long story short: That’s not a good thing. On the one hand, the life insurance company has insured you under false pretenses. Secondly, if you do get coronavirus and unfortunately die from it, after performing their due diligence upon your death, it is likely that your beneficiaries will not receive the intended death benefit. So, everyone loses. Be truthful and avoid all of that.
#8 – What if I can’t pay my premium because I lost my job during the coronavirus pandemic?
The best thing you can do is be honest with your insurer. Because of the current pandemic, they may give you a grace period to pay your bill. This will vary from company to company, but all types of insurance have been granting leniency during the current pandemic.
Get the coverage you need to protect your loved ones during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Start now by clicking on the FREE life insurance quote tool below to get access to cheap rates.