Life Insurance and COVID-19: What to Know

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated life insurance applications, but it's not too late for most to get coverage.
Georgia Rose
By Georgia Rose 
Edited by Lisa Green
Father and two young sons playing on sofa

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The first wave of the pandemic may be a few years behind us, but COVID-19 is still part of our lives. If you have a life insurance policy or are shopping for one, you may be wondering if the disease can impact your coverage. Learn more about what a COVID-19 diagnosis, death or vaccine means when it comes to life insurance.

Can I get life insurance if I’ve had COVID-19?

The short answer is yes. Some insurers have stated that they are treating COVID-19 like any other illness. However, insurers use your current and past health records to determine eligibility and rates. So, any previous medical condition, including long-term complications you may have sustained from COVID-19, can affect the cost and availability of coverage. 

If you don’t want your health taken into account when buying coverage, you can apply for guaranteed issue life insurance, which doesn't require any information about your health. But this type of life insurance comes with higher rates and lower coverage amounts. 

If you currently have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for it, you likely won’t be able to get life insurance until after you’ve recovered. Once you’re better, you can apply for a policy.

Life insurance and the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine doesn't impact an insurer’s decision to pay out claims. Some states have made it illegal for insurers to refuse a payout based on whether you have had the vaccine. In addition, the vaccine typically isn't used to determine your eligibility for coverage. It may open up coverage for those with underlying health conditions, as the vaccine reduces the risk of dying from COVID-19.

Does life Insurance cover deaths from coronavirus?

In almost all cases, life insurance covers deaths from COVID-19. However, a life insurance claim may be denied for other reasons worth noting.

Inaccurate or incomplete application. Claims can be denied if you didn't disclose certain information on your application, such as high-risk travel plans, your true weight or income. This also includes lying about any COVID-related illnesses if asked. When filling out an application, take your time, be truthful and ask questions. If you die within the first two years of coverage, an insurer generally examines the claim and initial application more thoroughly. Still, a company can refuse to pay a claim if false information is found on the application even after the two-year life insurance contestability period ends. 

Missed premium payments. If your policy lapses for nonpayment and you die, your beneficiary usually won’t receive a payout. When a premium payment is late, life insurance companies often offer a grace period, typically 30 days. Your coverage will continue as long as you pay the insurer during this time. In some cases, you can reinstate your policy if it lapses, but you may need to provide updated information on your health to do so.

Accidental death policies. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance, or AD&D, is designed to cover accidents. It doesn't pay out if you die of illness or disease. Sometimes AD&D coverage is added to a standard life insurance policy as a rider. In that case, the underlying traditional policy would still pay out for a death from COVID-19. 

How to file a life insurance claim

After a policyholder dies, the beneficiary will need to file a life insurance claim by following these steps:

  1. Obtain multiple copies of the death certificate.

  2. Contact the policyholder’s agent or the insurance company for claim paperwork.

  3. Send in the required documents with a certified copy of the death certificate.

After submitting a claim, the beneficiary can generally decide whether to receive payments in a lump sum or installments.

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Life insurance rates can vary dramatically depending on the type of coverage you buy and personal factors like your health, age and occupation.

Once you determine what type of life insurance is right for you and how much coverage you need, compare life insurance quotes from multiple companies to find your best rate.

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