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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Life Insurance

The outbreak of the coronavirus may mean you have concerns about your life insurance and whether you’re covered. Find expert answers here.

The outbreak of the coronavirus may mean you have concerns about your life insurance and whether you’re covered. Find expert answers here.

Kamran Altaf
From the Life team
3
minute read
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Posted 30 MARCH 2020

Coronavirus: a guide to life insurance 

Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 30th March 2020 but because of the impact of COVID-19 things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated. But check with your insurance provider or potential provider directly to confirm any details. 
 
See Government and NHS guidelines on how to avoid catching the COVID-19 virus and becoming unwell.

Does life insurance cover COVID-19?  

Many existing life insurance policies could pay out for COVID-19 if you pass away from the disease, provided you completed the application truthfully at the time. It’s not one of the standard exclusions most insurance providers apply, so you could be covered.  
 
However, some insurance providers introduced exclusions for pandemics on new policies after the SARS outbreak, so you need to check. Look at the cover and any exclusions in your policy documents, as these will help you understand what you are, and aren’t, covered for. If it’s not clear, contact your insurance provider for help. 

Could I have life insurance from my mortgage? 

If you have a mortgage, you may well already have life insurance to at least cover your mortgage costs.  
 
How much a policy could potentially pay out will depend on the type of policy you chose. Some policies will pay out the same amount, through the entire length of your mortgage. With others, the sum that’s paid gets smaller as your outstanding mortgage decreases. Check your paperwork to see what you’re covered for and whether it’s still right for your current circumstances. It’s a good idea to do this regularly anyway, as things change in your life. 
 
If your policy was linked to the length of your mortgage and you’ve finished paying it off, then you should be covered. That’s providing your insurance policy is still in force. But check your paperwork to see. 

People who are struggling with their mortgage repayments because of the pandemic may be able to apply for a three-month mortgage holiday. See Government support for those affected by COVID-19. 

I think my employer gives me some life insurance. Is that possible? 

Some employees may have a form of life insurance from their workplace. This means families could receive a cash lump sum, usually a multiple of salary, if the employee dies during their period of employment.  
 
This is a valuable benefit that many companies offer and some employees may not be aware they’re entitled to. It’s usually mentioned in your employment terms and conditions if you’re entitled to it. It’s typically known as death in service benefit, so look for that in any paperwork you got when you were recruited. If you’re not sure, check with your HR manager.  
 
You usually have to nominate who you’d like your benefit to go to, so if your circumstances have changed, you might want to update any beneficiaries. 

Is coronavirus a specified critical illness? 

No, this is a new strain of illness so it won’t be specified in policies.  
 
However, although it’s not a listed condition, if coronavirus led to one of the conditions listed on a customer’s policy, then you’d be eligible to claim. The vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 go on to make a full recovery. 
 
Exactly what’s covered by critical illness insurance will depend on the specific details set out in the particular policy you take out. What's included will vary from provider to provider. But usually policies cover things like heart attacks, strokes, severe head injuries and some types of cancer. Mild versions of illnesses may also be excluded.  
 
Always make sure you know exactly what you’re covered for when you choose a critical illness policy. 

What happens if I miss a payment on my life insurance policy? 

You’ll need to ask your life insurance provider what the situation is if you’re going to miss a payment, as this can vary from provider to provider.  
 
Some providers will give you a fixed amount of time to make up the missed payment without your policy being affected. 
 
If you know you’re going to miss a payment on your life insurance, it’s always best to get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible, to discuss your options. 

Does it matter if I’ve been abroad and contracted the virus? Will my policy still pay out? 

If you contract an illness when on holiday or working abroad you should be covered – provided a pandemic is not excluded in your policy – and subject to the usual claims process checking.

Does it matter if I’ve caught it from someone who has been abroad? Will my policy still pay out? 

You should be covered, provided a pandemic is not excluded in your policy, subject to the normal claims process. 

I run a business and have key person life insurance for my partner. Will this pay out should the worst happen? 

Yes. COVID-19 is a new illness so it’s unlikely it will be excluded from your policy. Check the policy documents so you understand what you will and won’t be covered for. 
 
See more on business insurance and coronavirus. 

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