With more than 82 million coronavirus cases in the United States, and life-changing as we know it in just about every state, you’re likely to start really thinking about your life. What changes do you need to make? What precautions do you have in place should the worst occur?
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As you frantically navigate your financial situation, give careful thought to your life insurance. If you have it, great, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you don’t, you may have some hurdles to jump.
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Life Insurance Companies are Changing Guidelines due to COVID-19
As with almost everything else we’ve known in our lives, life insurance companies must rethink their guidelines. A global pandemic puts life insurance companies at major risk, and they need to protect themselves from it moving forward.
From a significant increase in payouts to practically 0% interest rates that harm current policyholders’ investments, life insurance companies feel the brunt of the pandemic. In order to offset the risk, they continually change their guidelines.
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Many guidelines are still in the works, but as of right now, expect:
- More questions about your recent travel, especially international travel
- Questions about your upcoming travel plans, especially those within the next 30 days
- Longer waiting periods or possibly requiring you to re-apply 30 days AFTER travel to a State Department Level 3 or Level 4 country, which as of today is all countries
- More questions about your most recent state of health and any symptoms you may experience that may signal the virus
Many life insurance companies are only offering ‘shorter-term’ policies too. In other words, a 30-year term life policy may not be an option any longer, at least for the interim. For example, Prudential is among the insurance companies no longer offering long terms.
The Elimination of Medical Exams and More Use of Data in Some Cases
No one wants a medical examiner coming in their home today, no matter how badly they want insurance. Knowing the examiner was in other homes before your home can make you feel uneasy and understandably so.
Many insurance companies are eliminating the medical exam and replacing it with data, which is a direction many companies already started. Rather than relying on just your own answers to the health questionnaire, life insurance companies may use data including:
- Electronic health records
- Prescription records
- Motor vehicle records
Depending on the insurance company, they may ask for permission to talk to your physician, obtain a letter, or have access to your most recent physical results, including bloodwork. This can delay the approval process, but keep you safe at the same time.
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Keep in mind, though; some life insurance companies still offer and/or require the medical exam. Make sure the company takes precautions to preserve your safety, including inquiring about any recent fevers or respiratory illnesses, requiring at least a 14-day period between the symptoms and the exam.
The company should also postpone exams for anyone that traveled to a State Department Level 3 or Level 4 Country for at least 14 days.
Fortunately, many insurance companies offer an extended grace period for medical exams to 120 days, making it easier to feel comfortable with the process.
Seniors can still Get Life Insurance during the Pandemic
No one is ‘shut off’ from getting life insurance during the pandemic. Yes, insurance companies have stricter requirements, but that doesn’t mean seniors can’t find a policy.
Seniors may face some restrictions, namely their age. You may have to shop around and find a willing company as many have shut the maximum age off at 70-years old in the face of the virus, but not all have.
More importantly, seniors with serious health concerns, such as COPD, diabetes, or heart disease, may have the hardest time. Each of these illnesses puts seniors (or anyone) at higher risk of coronavirus and may limit your options for life insurance.
Most commonly, you’ll see one of the things happen when applying for life insurance during a pandemic, especially for seniors:
- Life insurance companies may charge higher premiums. Since life insurance companies are risk-averse, they charge higher premiums for higher risks. If you are in the ‘high risk’ category, expect higher premiums.
- Life insurance companies may make you wait. You may undergo a specific waiting period, more extended than usual in the face of the pandemic. This helps life insurance companies ensure that you aren’t at risk of the virus at the time of application.
If you already have life insurance, consider yourself lucky. Most life insurance companies don’t have exclusion for pandemics. In other words, even if you travel to a State Department Level 3 or Level 4 Country or you come into contact with the illness, your life insurance still stands.
Companies can’t change your coverage or increase your premiums because of the global pandemic. It’s anyone looking to get life insurance now and moving forward that may meet more obstacles and/or higher premiums.
Tips to Get Life Insurance during the Pandemic
If you feel panicked and want life insurance ‘just in case,’ use these tips:
- Answer each question completely honestly – insurance fraud is dishonest and illegal
- Wait at least 30 days after any international travel
- Opt for lower coverage amounts for fewer obstacles
- Apply soon before life insurance rates increase globally
- Have your most physical records available
Now is a great time to consider your life insurance situation. If you don’t have any, we suggest you act quickly. The parameters and guidelines insurance companies use change daily as they get more information from medical and scientific professionals.
In the wake of the pandemic, most insurance companies moved to an online or video platform. We make it easy for you to comparison shop and apply for life insurance all in one database. Get the answers you need quickly and get your life insurance application going as quickly as possible to get the coverage you need.