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How will getting the COVID vaccine affect your life insurance?
Everything you need to know about getting the COVID vaccine when applying for life insurance.
If you are thinking about getting one of the recently-approved coronavirus vaccines — or if you’ve already gotten your first or second vaccination dose — you might be wondering whether getting the COVID vaccine will have any affect on your ability to get life insurance.
Can people be turned down for life insurance policies if they do not have the COVID vaccine? Will you be more likely to be approved for life insurance coverage if you’ve received a COVID vaccine? If you already have a life insurance policy, do you need to tell your insurer if you get vaccinated for COVID? Will your COVID vaccination affect your life insurance premiums?
In most cases, you do not need to provide your insurer with any information about your vaccination history. But the COVID vaccine, like everything else related to the coronavirus pandemic, has made everything just a little bit unprecedented. Because this vaccine might affect your lifespan, you might want to tell a potential insurer that you’ve already gotten the COVID vaccine — or ask whether getting the COVID vaccine would affect your eligibility for life insurance.
We asked Laura McKiernan Boylan, Head of Underwriting Solutions at Haven Life, to explain how the COVID vaccine might affect your life insurance — and why some people might want to consider getting the vaccine before applying for a life insurance policy.
In this article:
How do life insurance companies usually regard vaccines?
“In general, vaccines are not considered in life insurance underwriting,” says Boylan. This means that your life insurer does not evaluate your vaccination history before determining whether or not to issue you a policy. You don’t need to list your vaccines when you apply for life insurance online. If you decide you want medically-underwritten term life insurance for its affordable premiums and term-length flexibility, you won’t need to provide vaccine records during your life insurance medical exam.
“It doesn’t come up during the process today,” Boylan says.
That said, the COVID-19 vaccine might change at least one aspect of the process — and this change might help more people access affordable life insurance plans.
How could the COVID vaccine affect your life insurance eligibility?
If you have a pre-existing condition related to the coronavirus and its impact, it might also affect your ability to take out a life insurance policy while the pandemic is still active. “Some insurers have made decisions to limit access to policies during COVID because of the comorbidity risk,” Boylan told us.
This means that if you are a person who is at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus, such as a person with diabetes or heart disease, you might have more trouble getting life insurance coverage. But if you can prove that you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, insurers might be more likely to offer you a life insurance policy. As Boylan puts it: “The COVID vaccine might re-open coverage.”
Because taking out a life insurance policy is one of the best things you can do to protect your loved ones — especially during a global pandemic — getting the COVID vaccine when you can, in order to increase your eligibility for an affordable life insurance policy, could be a smart move.
That said, there is no indication that insurers have begun using COVID vaccination status to make life insurance policy or premium decisions. This is all theoretical — and, as with many aspects of the pandemic, subject to change as we learn more about the coronavirus and the way it interacts with the available vaccines.
Does it matter which COVID vaccine you get?
Now that there are multiple COVID vaccines available, not to mention the potential for new vaccines to be approved in the future, does the vaccine you get have any affect on your life insurance eligibility status? If you get one of the first-ever mRNA vaccines, like the two-dose vaccines offered by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, will life insurers treat you differently than if you get a more conventional vaccine, like the one offered by Johnson & Johnson?
Boylan told us that, at this point, there is no indication that the type of coronavirus vaccine you get will have any effect on your life insurance eligibility. Many public health experts are recommending you get whichever vaccine is available in your area — and that could be a good practice to follow, especially if you don’t have a preference for which vaccine you want. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the important part, after all.
Also, there have been rumors on social media that life insurers will not pay out on claims if someone dies after getting the vaccine, because the vaccine is only FDA-approved for emergency use. Simply put, this is false, as the industry’s American Council of Life Insurers has confirmed. You can learn more by reading this thorough fact-checking article from the Associated Press, a longtime trusted news source. Unfortunately, misinformation can spread as quickly as the virus.
If you already have life insurance, should you tell your insurer when you get the COVID vaccine?
If you already have term life insurance, you do not need to inform your life insurer that you’ve gotten vaccinated for coronavirus. “In general, life insurance policies are fixed at the time of issue,” Boylan said.
What does it mean for a life insurance policy to be fixed at the time of issue? Life insurance policy and premium decisions are based on your age, health and risk status at the time of your life insurance application. If one of those factors changes in the future — for better or for worse — it shouldn’t have an effect on your policy or your monthly life insurance premium.
Is there any instance in which you should inform your insurer about a change to your COVID status?
There is one situation in which you should immediately inform your life insurance carrier about a change in your coronavirus status — and that’s if something happens between the day you fill out your life insurance application and the day your life insurance policy is finalized. If you get vaccinated for COVID during that time period, let your insurer know. If you are diagnosed with COVID during that time period, let your insurer know. If you recover from COVID — and obviously, we’re all hoping you do — let your insurer know.
“If you develop COVID between your application and when your policy is issued, you need to tell your insurer,” says Boylan.
Why? It has to do with that “time of issue” factor Boylan mentioned earlier. Life insurance policies are fixed at the time of issue — but any significant health changes that take place between the application and the time of issue are fair game for consideration in policy and underwriting decisions.
This doesn’t just apply to COVID, by the way. If you are diagnosed with diabetes before your life insurance policy is finalized, for example, you need to let your insurer know. “They don’t need to know about a cold, but they do need to know about serious issues,” Boylan says.
Life insurance can seem complicated, but at its core it’s fairly simple. Life insurers offer policies and set fair and affordable life insurance premiums based on quantifiable risk factors — which means that insurers need to be aware of all the potential factors before finalizing policy and premium decisions.
That’s why it might be a good idea to let a potential life insurance carrier know that you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19. By reducing your coronavirus risk, you’re making things a little safer for everyone — and by getting insurance, you’re making things a little more secure for yourself and your loved ones.
About Nicole Dieker
Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, with a focus on personal finance and habit formation. In addition to Haven Life, her work regularly appears at Lifehacker, Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Vox. Dieker spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money, and is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales.Read more by Nicole Dieker
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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
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