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Does insurance cover the coronavirus?
Each insurance policy covers — or doesn’t cover — the virus in different ways.
What's in this guide?
- Does health insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
- Does life insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does disability insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does mortgage life insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does car insurance help during the coronavirus?
- Does home insurance help during the coronavirus?
- Does travel insurance cover coronavirus interruptions?
- Does wedding insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does pet insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does workers' compensation cover the coronavirus?
- Does business interruption insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Do I have to pay my insurance premiums during the coronavirus?
- Bottom line
- Questions about how insurance covers the coronavirus
Does health insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
Yes, health insurance covers coronavirus-related bills. Most private health insurance and Medicare plans are required to cover the cost of testing. However, deductibles, co-pays and treatments covered will still apply for other types of treatment like respiratory therapy if you have private health insurance. Since private companies cover the coronavirus in different ways, contact your insurance company to ask how the coronavirus is covered under your plan.
Medicare fully covers the cost of getting tested for coronavirus without any need to pay for your deductible or copay. Several large private insurers are following suit, including Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Cigna.
Is it too late to buy health insurance?
No, you can buy health insurance during the open or special enrollment periods to cover medical costs for the coronavirus. You can also apply for a new policy after a qualifying life event, such as if you lose your job or you lose insurance through your spouse’s job. But if your policy has a waiting period, you’ll need to meet that requirement before your policy covers health expenses.
How can I pay my health insurance premiums?
Some states are requiring or recommending that insurance companies extend grace periods and postpone policy cancellations. Otherwise, you should contact your insurance company if you can’t make payments to review your coverage or payment options.
If you have a healthcare marketplace plan, you could have a 90-day grace period on payments before your policy will be canceled. You must qualify for the premium tax credit based on your income level, which you should have been notified about when applying for your policy. If you’re not sure, it’s worth contacting customer service.
Does life insurance cover the coronavirus?
If you already have a life insurance policy before a pandemic, your family or other beneficiaries should get the full death benefit even if your death is related to the pandemic. Ultimately, insurance companies are looking at your overall health. If your health has been influenced by the coronavirus, you might have to complete a waiting period before getting approved or pay a higher premium.
If you’ve been affected by the coronavirus financially, the cash value in your whole life insurance policy could be an option to help you pay the bills for your family or business. Talk to your life insurer to find out how to access your cash value.
Is it too late to buy life insurance?
No, you can buy life insurance despite the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll qualify for this type of insurance unless you’ve traveled to a high-risk area or caught the coronavirus. You should stay honest about your exposure to the coronavirus so that future claims won’t get denied.
If you have been exposed, the insurance company might hold your application until you’ve recovered or until the threat of illness passes. The waiting period will vary based on the insurance company, but you should expect at least a few weeks to pass before you’re accepted. In addition, some companies are limiting or restricting new applicants, such as those who are in a high-risk group for getting the coronavirus.
Life insurance may be a good option to consider if you have dependents, debts or are concerned about your loved ones paying expenses after you die. For your safety, many companies offer online applications, safety procedures and extended due dates for medical exams. You might also qualify for a policy that doesn’t require medical exams, although you could pay a higher premium.
How can I make my life insurance payments?
Most states have a mandatory grace period before insurance companies can cancel your policy. Some states are even extending those time limits during the coronavirus. If you don’t expect to make payments despite the grace periods, you might consider these options for paying for your life insurance:
- Cash value withdrawal — If you bought a permanent life policy, you might qualify to use the cash value to pay some or all of your premium.
- Lower coverage — You might be able to switch policies or lower your benefits so the payments are more manageable.
- Premium waiver rider — If you purchased this rider, you could keep your policy despite not making payments if you’re out of work due to an illness or disability.
Does disability insurance cover the coronavirus?
Yes, most disability insurance companies include the coronavirus as a qualifying reason for coverage. This kind of insurance helps when you’re forced to take time off from work, including cases when you’re sick with an illness.
However, you’ll likely need to meet requirements before your disability policy will pay. You may need a written statement from your doctor to prove your diagnosis — a precautionary self-quarantine may not qualify especially if you can still work. Also, your illness will have to extend past the waiting period to receive payments. However, if your policy includes a first-day hospital benefit, your benefit waiting period can be waived if you’re admitted to the hospital for the specified period of time listed in your policy.
And last, you may have to prove you can’t work at your normal occupation or at all during your recovery. So if you have mild symptoms and a job that lets you work from home, you likely won’t qualify for disability benefits.
Is it too late to buy disability insurance?
You can buy disability insurance, also known as income protection insurance, during the coronavirus outbreak. However, your disability may get defined as a pre-existing condition if you catch the coronavirus before applying. A pre-existing condition can exclude you from coverage on many policies.
Does mortgage life insurance cover the coronavirus?
Yes, your mortgage life insurance should pay off your mortgage if you die from the coronavirus. In addition, some policies offer a mortgage disability rider that pays your mortgage if you become disabled. Other policies won’t include this disability coverage at all, so you might check with your insurance company if you’re unsure.
Factors that may affect your mortgage disability coverage:
- You have to meet the criteria for a disability, which may include a diagnosis and inability to work at your normal job.
- Your policy may come with a waiting period between 30 and 60 days before it pays your mortgage. It’s possible to find shorter waiting periods.
- You might not be covered if you lost your job unless you bought an unemployment rider.
- Homeowners insurance or association fees may not be covered except by a policy rider.
Is it too late to buy mortgage life insurance?
No, you can buy mortgage life insurance or a standalone mortgage disability policy during the coronavirus outbreak. Keep in mind the coronavirus may get labeled as a pre-existing condition if you buy the policy after getting sick. This may exclude you from coverage or require further investigation from the insurance company before getting approved for coverage.
Does car insurance help during the coronavirus?
Yes, car insurance can help in several situations with accidents or payment relief. What you should know:
- Keeping car insurance. You still need car insurance during this pandemic if you’re driving your car at all. Most states have a minimum amount of coverage you must keep to drive legally, like liability coverage.
- Getting cheaper coverage. If you’re considering canceling, you might try reducing your coverage or shopping pay-per-mile policies instead. But you’ll pay higher premiums if you drop coverage and buy again later. And you may have to cancel your car’s registration with the state to legally keep an unused car.
- Premium refunds. Most companies have gone so far as to give refunds or credits to customers because accident risks have severely decreased. Refunds range from 15% to 35% off a few months of payments.
- Payment assistance. Also, car insurance companies are offering delayed payments or working on a new payment schedule for those in financial difficulty.
Is it too late to buy car insurance?
No, it’s never too late to buy or change car insurance. Now’s a good time to reevaluate your current policy to make sure you have the right coverage. For example, if your kid comes home early from a closed college and is driving the family car, you’d no longer be eligible for a student away discount. Or if you’re quarantined and not driving anywhere, you might call your insurer to ask about pausing coverage or switching to a layup policy.
Does home insurance help during the coronavirus?
Yes. Like car insurance, home insurance companies are offering payment relief, including extending payment due dates, waiving late fees and postponing cancellations. These options are available especially if your state requires companies to offer them.
While you might be considering lower coverage or canceling your home insurance policy, consider the consequences of doing so. Most states don’t require home insurance, but your lender probably does. In addition, lowering coverage too much can leave you exposed to financial risks if your home gets damaged.
Instead, consider shopping around with new home insurance companies to lower your cost. Or you might review your coverage with an insurance agent’s help.
Does travel insurance cover coronavirus interruptions?
Most policies don’t include travel coverage for the coronavirus, though a few are starting to offer policies with COVID-19 add-ons. Some companies allow specific COVID-19 coverage on your travel policy, such as for coronavirus medical emergencies. A handful of companies are also offering COVID-19 add-ons or cancel for any reason policies to cover coronavirus-related situations. However, you won’t get reimbursed for medical expenses or trip cancellations if your policy doesn’t list COVID-19 or quarantine coverage specifically.
Is it too late to buy travel insurance?
Yes, since you probably won’t be covered for claims related to COVID-19 if you buy standard travel insurance right now. Most insurance companies have considered the illness a foreseeable event since January 22, 2020, excluding it from coverage. Of the few companies that do cover the coronavirus, coverage may be limited to coronavirus medical expenses or quarantine triggered by a positive coronavirus test.
However, you can cancel a trip due to the coronavirus if you buy a cancel for any reason (CFAR) policy. But these policies are difficult to find, and CFAR policies only cover a portion of expenses, usually up to 75%. To get paid for nonrefundable costs, you might need to:
- Cover the full nonrefundable cost of your trip on the policy
- Buy CFAR coverage within 14 days from your first trip deposit
- Cancel within a certain time, like 48 hours before departure
Does wedding insurance cover the coronavirus?
Generally no, wedding insurance won’t cover anything related to the coronavirus. You could have coverage in specific situations if you purchased a policy before the coronavirus became a known event around January 22 to 24, 2020. However, coverage depends on the insurance company and the terms of your contract.
Some policies exclude diseases entirely, denying claims related to the coronavirus for your wedding. Also, liability coverage is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may not be covered for weddings after the coronavirus became known.
Situations where you might be covered:
- No disease exclusion on your policy
- Having a communicable disease add-on — This option is likely unavailable for purchase right now.
- Main guests of honor getting sick
- Government shelter-in-place orders
- Closed venue
Is it too late to buy wedding insurance?
You can still buy wedding insurance policies, but you probably won’t receive coverage for anything related to the coronavirus. Also, some companies aren’t offering wedding cancellation coverage, only liability policies.
A few companies that offer policies include Nationwide, Progressive, WedSafe and Markel.
Does pet insurance cover the coronavirus?
Yes. However, while a few US cases in pets have been reported as of June 25, 2020, health officials haven’t found pets to be a main source of transmission. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has reminded pet owners there’s no reason to surrender animals to shelters out of fear they might get the coronavirus.
If your pet does get sick with any virus, pet insurance can cover vet expenses, provided you have an accident and illness pet policy and it’s not a pre-existing condition. Accident-only or wellness policies wouldn’t help with coronavirus treatments.
How can I protect myself and my pet?
As a precaution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends practicing normal hygiene around animals. This includes washing your hands after touching, feeding or cleaning up after your pets. Otherwise, the CDC recommends social distancing with pets the same way you would with humans. You should keep your pets on a leash while outdoors and avoid letting them mingle with other dogs or people.
Also, if you need help paying for pet food or taking care of your pet during the coronavirus, contact your local animal shelter to ask about pet food bank options or community resources.
Is it too late to buy pet insurance?
No, you can buy comprehensive pet policies right now during the coronavirus, as long as your pet meets the insurance qualifications. Your coverage and premium are unlikely to be affected, since US pets don’t face many risks caused by COVID-19.
Does workers’ compensation cover the coronavirus?
It depends. A workers’ compensation policy may help if you caught the coronavirus because of your job. However, insurance companies may only approve claims if you can prove the illness came directly from your workplace.
Also, there is some argument about whether the coronavirus is categorized as a standard disease of life similar to the common cold or flu, which may not qualify. Healthcare workers face more exposure than workers in other industries, making their claims easier to get approved.
Once approved, workers’ compensation can pay for coronavirus-related medical bills. In many states, you’ll also get reimbursed for lost wages based on a portion of your average income or the average for workers in your state.
Is it too late to use workers’ compensation insurance?
If you were diagnosed recently and meet the criteria, you should still be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. The time limits for filing vary by state with the quickest timeline applying to notifying your employer.
Many states require you to notify your employer in writing anywhere from 10 to 90 days after getting sick. Then, you may have one to three years to file the official workers’ compensation claim. Other factors to consider:
- You may have a waiting period of several days after missing work before benefits kick in.
- Some states won’t start the time limit for filing claims until after your quarantine.
- Your state may have time limits for finding medical help or submitting bills.
- Your state may let you reopen a claim for new medical expenses or complications within a certain time.
To find out your state’s requirements, research these with your department of health or talk with your employer’s insurance company as soon as is reasonable.
Does business interruption insurance cover the coronavirus?
Business interruption claims aren’t likely covered, although it can depend on your insurance policy. Most policies won’t offer coverage because you must prove the illness caused a direct physical loss to your business. That could mean you need a confirmed case on your property or with your staff to justify getting reimbursed, and even then it’s unlikely you’ll get reimbursed without a court trial.
Another factor is that some policies name situations your business can be covered for, like fire, theft or online scams. Those named perils might not include widespread disease as a covered reason. Other policies exclude diseases specifically.
In any case, your insurance company and lawyers will rely on your policy’s listed exclusions and policy language to guide whether you have coverage.
Is it too late to buy business interruption insurance?
No, you can apply for business interruption insurance even amidst the coronavirus. As long as you meet the waiting period and other policy requirements, it’s possible to buy a policy even if your business is closed. But coverage for the coronavirus or government-mandated closures are still being debated, and most insurance companies are denying these claims as of June 25, 2020.
Because you’ll have a difficult time proving coronavirus coverage for a current closure, consider talking with an insurance representative about your situation before buying. If you haven’t closed your doors yet, your business should get covered for the same situations as other businesses who already have this coverage.
Do I have to pay my insurance premiums during the coronavirus?
Yes, you’ll still need to make regular payments, unless you qualify for payment relief or premium refunds. Most car insurance companies are giving refunds or credits to customers because accident risks have severely decreased. Additional relief may also be available to you, including the following:
- Deferred payment options. Allstate is allowing auto and home policy holders who are struggling financially to use a Special Payment Plan to defer their payments for up to two billing cycles without penalty. Customers are encouraged to pay as much as they can, as the balance will be spread out among the remaining payments in the policy term.
- No cancellations, no late fees. A few other large insurers have extended grace periods, removed late fees and postponed policy cancellations, including Amica, Farmers, Geico, The Hanover, NJM Insurance, Progessive, Travelers and USAA. But watch for end dates on these measures since some end dates have already passed. Once that happens, unpaid balances will need to be fulfilled.
- State-ordered relief. Over 30 states have either advised or mandated insurance premium relief, whether in the form of extended grace periods or putting a stop to policy cancellations due to lack of payment. California and New Jersey mandated the return of private and commercial insurance premiums during specific months.
- Individual relief. If you’re having trouble paying your insurance premiums, give your insurance agent a call. Most companies are offering to work with policyholders on an individual basis.
You can expect insurance policies to cover claims related to the coronavirus if you bought the policy before people knew about the illness. But some policies like travel insurance specifically exclude coverage for foreseeable events and pandemics. If you’re planning to file a coronavirus claim, make sure you understand how your insurance policy covers it in the first place.
Questions about how insurance covers the coronavirus
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