Does life insurance cover the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Nearly every conversation I have with family, friends and coworkers begins with discussing the latest COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) news and how the situation is evolving in our communities and around the world. Can you relate?
Recently, my friend Hela, who happens to be a Haven Life customer, asked if her life insurance policy covers death from a pandemic like COVID-19. As she put it, “I want to make sure that if I die, it won’t be excluded as some sort of global health crisis.”
We realize that, like Hela, you may feel uncertain about how the coronavirus affects your life insurance. Below we’re providing clarity around questions Haven Life customers or those shopping for life insurance might have regarding the outbreak. If we missed your question, our customer success team is happy to assist in answering. Please keep in mind that these responses are specific to policies sold by Haven Life, which are all underwritten and issued by our parent company MassMutual.
– Brittney and the Haven Life team
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COVID-19 impact for life insurance policyholders
Q: Does my policy cover death from COVID-19 or a pandemic?
A: As long as you were honest on your application about preexisting conditions and plans for travel, policies sold by Haven Life cover death from COVID-19 or a pandemic overall.
Q: Will my coverage end if I can’t afford to pay my premiums?
A: We are here to support our customers during this time of uncertainty and financial hardship. Customers who are concerned about maintaining their monthly premiums should contact our customer success team for accommodations.
Q: Does the two-year contestability period impact whether I’m covered from death by COVID-19?
A: First, some background: your life insurance policy is a contract between you and a life insurer. A two-year contestability period is a common clause across the industry that protects insurers from fraud or false information on applications within the first two years the coverage is in place.
Life insurance companies do pay claims during the two-year contestability period. That said, any claims made within the first two years of owning a policy will be more thoroughly reviewed to ensure application information was truthful and complete. If you honestly answered the questions in the life insurance application, then you have little reason to be concerned about whether or not a claim related to COVID-19 would be paid.
Q: If I contract COVID-19, can I utilize the accelerated death benefit rider?
A: Currently, the majority of COVID-19 cases are not fatal for younger, healthier individuals, which many of our customers are. And to access the accelerated death benefit rider, a policyholder must be terminally ill with a documented life expectancy of two years or less.
If a policyholder were to become terminally ill due to a severe infection from COVID-19, they can access 75 percent of their death benefit or up to $250,000, whichever is less. Please keep in mind that whatever funds are accessed will be subtracted from the overall life insurance policy payout made to beneficiaries. For example, if a policyowner has a $500,000 policy and accesses $100,000 of the funds using the accelerated death benefit provision, their beneficiaries would receive a payout of $400,000.
Q: Will COVID-19 impact MassMutual’s financial stability and claims-paying ability?
A: Life insurance companies receive ratings from third-parties about their financial stability and claims-paying ability – with MassMututal receiving high marks across all agencies. Therefore, top-rated companies generally have the financial resources and re-insurance support to meet their financial obligations.
As our parent company put it, “… even in the most volatile market conditions, we are still able to meet the needs of those who rely on us.”
COVID-19 impact when applying for life insurance
Q: Can I still buy life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Yes, you can still apply for term life insurance and, if approved, get coverage started immediately. If you need to take a medical exam to finalize coverage (which you will be notified of when your application is submitted), please note there could be limitations in availability during this time. All applicants have 120 days to complete the medical exam, and in many cases, you will be able to have temporary coverage in place until you take the medical exam.
Q: Does life insurance cover death from a global health crisis like Covid-19?
A: As long as you were honest in the application process about health, travel and pre-existing conditions, yes, term life insurance policies sold by Haven Life cover death from the coronavirus.
Q: Can I get coverage if I recently traveled to or plan to travel to China, Italy or other affected regions?
A: Underwriting guidelines as a result of COVID-19 are evolving. For individuals who are applying for our MassMutual-issued policies, there may be additional questions in the underwriting process about international travel and potential waiting periods for a decision as a result of travel.
Coverage eligibility for life insurance applicants with confirmed travel plans to State Department Level 3 or 4 countries (which currently includes all countries) may be postponed and require a 30-day waiting period after they return to the U.S. Once the 30 days have passed, individuals may reapply. This waiting period and applicable countries may change as we learn more. Additionally, if you have recently returned from international travel with an illness or respiratory infection, then a decision on coverage eligibility would be postponed until after the 30-day waiting period.
If you would like specific questions answered regarding your travel plans and if there will be a waiting period, our customer success team is happy to assist.
Q: Are life insurance premiums going up as a precaution?
A: Life insurance premium rates are not increasing as a result of COVID-19. Please keep in mind that if an applicant contracts an illness, then that could increase the cost of the premium or make an applicant ineligible for coverage.
Q: Can I still get instant, no medical exam life insurance coverage?
A: You might have guessed we’d say this, but: the answer to this may evolve over time, too.
Currently, eligible applicants may either qualify for our InstantTerm, no medical exam experience or may be able to get temporary coverage in place while they complete a medical exam and await the results. Due to the need for additional caution surrounding international travel, you may need to answer some questions from an underwriter about future plans before receiving an offer. Keep in mind that it’s important to be honest in the application process. The issuance of the policy or payment of benefits may depend upon the truthfulness of answers provided in the application process.
Whether some follow up questions or a medical exam are needed, we work very hard to make dependable buying term life insurance as simple as possible. Once an application is submitted, which takes about 15 minutes, you will be notified of whether you are approved for coverage or if more information is needed. Customers who need to take a medical exam now have an extended time period to take it – 120 days.
Q: How does two-year contestability work if I contract COVID-19 in the near future?
A: This provision in your life insurance contract protects the company from fraud or false application information. Life insurance companies do pay claims during the two-year contestability period. That said, any claims made within the first two years of owning a policy will be more thoroughly reviewed to ensure application information was truthful and complete. As long as you reported honest information on your life insurance application, including sharing health conditions or international travel plans, then you have little reason to be concerned about if a claim related to COVID-19 would be paid.
Q: Are you still performing life insurance medical exams?
A: In most states, applicants are still able to schedule the medical exam to be performed at a location of their choosing. The third-party exam administrator we use, ExamOne, has rigorous safety procedures in place to protect patients and employees from coming in contact with infectious diseases.
Prior to scheduling, ExamOne is now proactively asking applicants about fever or respiratory illnesses as well as recent travel to ensure the health of its examiners. If an applicant is currently experiencing an illness or was recently in a State Department Level 3 or 4 country, the medical exam will be postponed for 14 days.
For the health of paramed examiners, please do not schedule a medical exam if you are sick or if the location where you plan to take the exam may be contaminated.
Q: If I don’t feel comfortable taking a medical exam at this time, can I take it at a later date?
A: The third-party exam administrator we work with, ExamOne, takes the proper precautions to protect life insurance applicants and employees from coming in contact with infectious diseases. In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, ExamOne has taken additional measures to bolster preparedness. These precautions include frequent disinfecting of all surfaces, frequent hand washing, and creating a special response team along with special training for employees.
Especially in uncertain times like these, we want customers and medical examiners to feel comfortable and remain healthy. All applicants now have 120 days to take the medical exam, so if an individual doesn’t feel comfortable taking the exam or if there are limitations in exam availability, there will be adequate time to take the exam at a later date. For applicants who are nearing the end of the allotted time for the exam, please contact customer success to see if we can provide an extension.
Q: If I’m sick should I take a medical exam?
A: Generally, if you are experiencing any type of illness or infection, it’s advisable to postpone taking the life insurance medical exam until you feel better. Being under the weather can skew the results of your medical exam, which would not present the underwriting team with an accurate depiction of your health.
If you have any concerns that you might be sick or experiencing symptoms like a sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath that are commonly associated with this virus, please contact a medical professional immediately and do not schedule a medical exam.
About Brittney Burgett
Brittney Burgett is the marketing and communications director at Haven Life, a customer-centric life insurance agency backed and wholly owned by MassMutual. She joined the startup more than five years ago as one of the first ten employees and oversees external communications, content, SEO and various other growth marketing initiatives. Brittney is a passionate leader who believes that managing your financial life doesn't need to be intimidating or complicated and brings that philosophy to all the editorial and brand work at Haven Life. Prior to her role at Haven Life, Brittney worked in public relations, her client list included brands in the tech, food and nutrition spaces.Read more by Brittney Burgett
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 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.
Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html
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