As COVID-19-related deaths continue to rise, more Americans are wondering if they should buy life insurance to protect their families in the event of their death. In fact, according to LIMRA’s 2021 Barometer study, one in three Americans said they were more likely to purchase life insurance due to the pandemic. However, whether their policy would cover a death related to COVID-19 depends on several factors.
Life insurance agents are essential in helping clients understand whether their beneficiaries will receive the death benefit. There are specific circumstances or certain policies where insurance companies may deny the claim if the policy owner has died from COVID-19. Applicants should be informed of this so that they can make the choice that suits their family’s needs.
Several exceptions for Standard Life policies
If the policyholder has a regular life insurance policy that is active, the insurer will pay the beneficiary if the insured has died from complications related to COVID-19. There are, however, a few exceptions.
First, if the policy is less than two years old and the applicant has misrepresented material information on the application, the application will be denied regardless of the cause of death. Second, if the insured contracted COVID-19 and was too ill to pay their life insurance premiums, causing the policy to lapse, the claim may be denied (depending on the state where the insured lived). Third, if an employee who is covered by a group life insurance plan contracts COVID-19, becomes too ill to return to work, and is fired without converting their group coverage to a private policy, their beneficiary’s claim may be denied. .
Accidental death policies do not cover deaths related to COVID-19
Accidental death policies generally cover death resulting from a sudden and unforeseen accident, such as a car accident or drowning. They generally do not cover deaths related to COVID-19 as they are considered to be from natural causes. If the insured died in an accident while having COVID-19, the claim will be paid provided none of the exclusions apply and COVID-19 did not contribute to the accident.
COVID-19 is not listed as a serious illness
Likewise, many critical illness insurance policies deny coverage for COVID-19, as these policies may not list COVID-19 as a covered illness. Critical illness insurance policies list the illnesses for which coverage would be available. If COVID-19 is not listed on a critical illness insurance policy, the claim will likely be denied.
However, if a person suffers from a covered illness and contracts COVID-19, the claim must be paid.
Another exception is where COVID-19 results in covered conditions, such as organ failure. It’s good practice for applicants looking to purchase a critical illness insurance policy to read the policy and discuss it with their advisor to better understand the illnesses covered.
Horseman of hastened death may require medical certification
Accelerated death policies pay out a certain amount of death benefit to the insured who is alive but terminally ill and has a short life expectancy. Each accelerated death policy has a list of requirements that must be met for the claim to be payable.
For example, many require an attending physician to sign a life expectancy letter certifying that the insured is terminally ill and has a life expectancy of 12 months or less. Unless all contract requirements are met, the claim will be denied. So, if the insured has COVID-19 and is very ill, unless they have a letter from their doctor confirming their short life expectancy, their claim for an accelerated death benefit will be strong. probably refused.
One step to getting a policy that meets the financial needs of the applicant’s family is to work closely with a life insurance agent to understand the type of coverage they are buying. Life insurance agents should discuss all possible scenarios involving COVID-19 related deaths. At the same time, it is in the applicant’s best interest to read the policy and analyze possible scenarios when life insurance will not pay out.
Tatiana Kadetskaya, Esq. is a life insurance lawyer Kadetskaya Law Firm. Tatiana can be contacted at [email protected].
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