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Does insurance cover the coronavirus?
Each policy covers — or doesn’t cover — the virus in different ways.
What's in this guide?
- Does health insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
- Does travel insurance cover coronavirus interruptions?
- Does life insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does disability insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does mortgage life insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does workers’ compensation cover the coronavirus?
- Does business interruption insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Does car insurance cover coronavirus-related accidents?
- Does pet insurance cover the coronavirus?
- Bottom line
- Questions about how insurance covers the coronavirus
Does health insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
Yes, the coronavirus test is an essential health benefit that requires most private health insurance and Medicare plans to cover it. However, deductibles and co-pays may still apply if you have private health insurance.
Medicare covers coronavirus testing without cost-sharing with the patient, and several large private insurers are following suit. Those companies include Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Cigna. However, coverage rules for the coronavirus test may not apply to self-insured employers, leaving these employers to make the decision voluntarily.
Shared costs for coronavirus treatment will be subject to the same out-of-pocket costs as usual, unless your insurance company states otherwise. Since private companies cover the coronavirus in different ways, you might contact yours with specific questions ahead of testing.
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. If your policy includes waiting periods, you’ll need to meet that requirement before it covers expenses.
Does travel insurance cover coronavirus interruptions?
Generally, most policies don’t include travel coverage for a pandemic. So if you bought your policy before the coronavirus became a pandemic or known illness, you might get reimbursed for expenses, depending on the type of coverage you bought.
For policies bought after the virus’s spread, some companies allow certain travel coverage like medical emergencies for the coronavirus. But watch for dates, since your company may limit coverage to those traveling or buying policies within a certain time frame. Also, you won’t get reimbursed for medical expenses or trip cancellations if you didn’t buy that coverage in the first place.
Is it too late to buy travel insurance?
You probably won’t be covered for claims related to COVID-19 if you buy travel insurance right now. Most insurance companies have considered the illness a foreseeable event since January 22, 2020, excluding it from coverage
However, you can cancel a trip due to the coronavirus if you buy a cancellation for any reason (CFAR) policy. Keep in mind CFAR policies only cover a portion of expenses, such as 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 or 15 days from your first trip’s deposit
- Cancel within a certain time like before 48 hours from departure
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.
In these cases, 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.
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 out. You may need a written statement from your doctor to prove your diagnosis — a precautionary self-quarantine may not qualify. Your illness will also have to extend past the waiting period to receive payments.
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 may not qualify for 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 workers’ compensation cover the coronavirus?
Yes, workers’ compensation can help you if you caught the coronavirus because of your job. However, insurance companies may only approve claims if you can prove your illness came directly from your workplace. For example, 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 based on your state with the quickest timeline being for 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 period.
To find out your state’s requirements, you can 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?
Coverage for business interruptions caused by the coronavirus depends on your insurance policy. Many policies won’t offer coverage unless you can prove the illness caused a direct physical loss to your business. That may mean you need a confirmed case on your property or with your staff to justify getting reimbursed.
Another factor is that some policies name specific 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 may exclude diseases specifically.
The surest way of covering coronavirus business interruptions is through an add-on for communicable diseases. In any case, your insurance company will rely on your policy’s listed exclusions and other 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 get coverage even if your business is already closed. Keep in mind you may need to prove a physical loss to your business to get any benefits. Some closures won’t get covered by insurance, especially if they’re preventive.
Because you may have a difficult time proving coverage for the coronavirus, consider talking with an insurance representative about your situation before buying. If you haven’t closed your doors yet, your business should get covered the same as other businesses who already have this coverage.
Does car insurance cover coronavirus-related accidents?
Let’s say you cause a car accident on the way to a doctor’s visit related to the coronavirus. Your car insurance should cover the accident the same way as any other. Your liability coverage will pay the other driver’s medical bills and car damage. Your collision, roadside assistance and rental reimbursement coverage will pay for your own expenses if you have these types of coverage.
However, your MedPay or personal injury protection won’t cover medical expenses related to the coronavirus because your illness didn’t cause the accident. Keep in mind you should tell the other driver and police officer about your suspected illness so they can take precautions.
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 an away student discount. Or if you’re quarantined and not driving anywhere, you might want to call your insurer and ask about pausing coverage or switching to a layup policy.
Does pet insurance cover the coronavirus?
Yes, but dogs, cats and other pets haven’t been known to get or spread the COVID-19 virus in the US as of March 23, 2020, according to the CDC and WHO. Pet insurance can cover vet expenses if your pet gets sick with any virus, 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.
As a precaution, the CDC recommends practicing normal hygiene around animals by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated there’s little concern over touching your pets or walking your dog outside, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) has reminded pet owners there’s no reason to surrender animals to shelters because of fears of contracting the coronavirus.
If you need help paying for your pet’s 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.
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.
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