Not all costs related to the coronavirus will get covered by insurance — you may be left paying out of pocket in some cases. In general, you can expect life and car insurance to treat coronavirus claims like other covered events. But read the fine print on your health and travel policies to make sure you understand your coverage and out-of-pocket costs.
What are the costs to bear in mind for coronavirus treatment
The cost of each COVID-19 testing kit is about $260 to $270 but all testing fees will be covered by the Singapore Government.
All hospital bills incurred by Coronavirus patients in public hospitals will be paid in full by the Singapore Government. This means that you do not need to make any claims for your hospitalisation bills from your insurance. To be entitled to this cover, you’ll need to be a Singapore citizen, permanent residents and long term pass holders. However, do take note that this coverage does not extend to outpatient treatment.
No hospitalisation coverage for those who disregard travel advisories
On 24 March 2020, the government has announced that any Singaporeans, permanent residents and long term pass holders who depart Singapore from 27 March 2020 onwards will be charged unsubsidised rates for inpatient stay at public hospitals, if they’re admitted as suspected COVID-19 patients within 14 days of returning to Singapore. These people will also not be able to claim from their MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at both public and private hospitals.
14-day self-isolation at SHN facilities
From 9 April 2020, it is mandatory for all returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass holders to serve their 14-day self-isolation at dedicated Stay-Home Notice (SHN) facilities instead of their homes. All meals will be provided and fully paid for.
However, those who left Singapore from 27 March 2020 will have to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities themselves.
Does health insurance cover coronavirus treatment?
Since the Singapore Government cover all the cost for inpatient coronavirus treatment, you will not need to claim from your insurance.
However, outpatient treatment costs will not be covered by the government and you may be able to claim from your policy. Many of the insurance companies have also stepped in with complimentary COVID-19 coverage that will be extended to all their eligible customers. These covers typically include daily hospitalisation income, death benefit and one-time cash payout in the unfortunate event that you’ve contacted COVID-19.
Since private insurers cover the coronavirus in different ways, you might contact yours with specific questions to check if you’d be reimbursed with any of the outpatient treatment costs.
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 travelling 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 life insurance?
No, you can buy life insurance despite the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll qualify for this type of insurance unless you’ve travelled 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 additional benefits or riders for disability or involuntary loss of employment. So make sure to check with your insurance company if you’re unsure of the policy’s coverage.
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 the policy comes with unemployment protection.
Is it too late to buy mortgage life insurance?
No, you can buy mortgage insurance during the coronavirus outbreak. Keep in mind the coronavirus may get labelled 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 work injury compensation cover the coronavirus?
Yes, the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) allows employees to make claims for work-related injuries or diseases. This means that if you contract diseases from biological agents, including COVID-19, because of your job, you’ll be able to claim from WICA. However, WICA will not cover diseases due to COVID-19 if it was contracted through non-work activities or exposure.
So for claim approvals, you’ll need to prove that 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, you’ll also get reimbursed for lost wages based on a portion of your average income. Find out more about the WICA benefits here.
As for coronavirus-related medical bills, the Singapore Government will pay for hospital bills incurred by Coronavirus patients in public hospitals. To be eligible, you’ll need to be a Singapore citizen, Singapore permanent residents and long term pass holders.
Is it too late to use workers’ injury compensation?
Previously, employees are required to submit a claim to be compensated, even in cases such as death or serious injury. However, the WICA was revised in 2019 and now processing will start as soon as an accident report was made, so there’s no longer a need to file for claims.
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 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. At the time of writing, you may still drive around Singapore for essential activities so your policy will provide cover as usual. However,
Does pet insurance cover the coronavirus?
Yes. According to a post on the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA) website, there is currently no evidence that cats and dogs could be a source of infection to other animals or humans. 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. For information, check the World’s Small Animals Veterinary Association (WSAVA) updates for more advice and resources on coronavirus.
As a precaution, the CDC recommends the practice of normal hygiene around animals by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching pets. With these said there should be little concern over touching your pets or walking your dog outside, and there’s no reason to abandon or 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 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.
Questions about how insurance covers the coronavirus
A known or foreseeable event is any situation you could have reasonably expected to happen ahead of time. Insurance companies use different dates to define when the coronavirus became a known event. You’ll need to check with your company if this might affect your coverage. This term is important because some policies cover coronavirus claims if you bought insurance before the illness became a known event.
If you cancel your trip and insurance won’t cover you, you might recoup travel costs by:
Asking for refunds. Several airlines are starting refund or rescheduling programs for flights cancelled due to travel bans or concerns. In addition, hotels and tourist attractions may offer cancellations within a certain time period.
Rebooking your plans. Your airline or hotel may not charge change or rescheduling fees if you pick a later date for your trip.
Getting credit for the cost. Even if the flight or attraction passes can’t get full refunds, you could see if the company will issue a credit toward a future trip.
Try calling your insurance company to explain your situation to a live agent. Although companies have general guidelines about exclusions, some may choose to make an exception in your situation. If you’re considering buying insurance, consider calling before you make a final purchase.
Zyane Tan is an associate editor at Finder. An experienced copywriter and content creator, Zyane enjoys writing on a wide array of subjects. When she’s not busy typing away, she’s reading and musing over a pint.
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